Last night I was in the checkout line at the grocery store. There was a woman behind me with a cart full of produce who told me, “I’ll probably end up throwing most of this away.” I asked her why. She said she knows she should eat healthy, but it takes too much time and effort to whip up a meal from scratch, and anyway, she wasn’t that great of a cook. Despite her best intentions, she ends up ordering in for the family most nights.
Unfortunate fact – over 40% of food produced is wasted, depleting resources like fresh water, electricity and human effort.
Wouldn’t it be great if raw ingredients could magically convert themselves into dishes for the family – no time, effort, or cooking skills needed? The family could be eating healthier meals, they’d be eating the food they spent money and time to procure, and it wouldn’t end up wasted in the trash anymore.
Companies are wasting data
Many companies are wasting data just like many people are wasting food.
Companies recognize how important data is. They know their workforce is hungry for data-driven solutions to their problems. They need it to thrive in the current landscape.
So they invest significantly in data, and try to turn it into business solutions. But somehow their solutions don’t move the business forward. Their solutions don’t make their way into team decisions, and don’t shape products, operations, and customer experiences. And so companies don’t get value from their data projects.
What’s the problem?
The problem is that their solutions aren’t consumable. They just aren’t usable.
Companies collect data and make it available, produce complex models, charts and reports, and beautiful visualizations. But most workers have a hard time figuring out how to use it, so they don’t. And if workers don’t know how to use the data to do their jobs, most of it will be discarded unused. This costs companies millions in wasted resources and missed opportunity.
Here are the three key points to conquer the last mile of analytics and ensure your data is not wasted.
If workers don’t know how to use the data to do their jobs, most of it will be discarded unused.
Give your workforce usable answers
The manager who is tasked with reducing churn, improving efficiency, eliminating fraud, improving customer experience, or improving some other business outcome, wants to know one thing and one thing only: what they need to do. If you hand them anything less than that – anything that requires interpretation or analysis or figuring out– you are making their job harder, and you’re making it less likely it’ll be used. If you want a data-driven enterprise, your teams need to know what specific actions and tasks to take to ratchet up performance and meet their goals. What should they say to this customer? What product should they recommend?
Make it convenient for your teams to use
It’s not enough to give them the answers, it’s critical to make sure they have them when and where decisions are being made. What’s their workflow? If they make decisions on the phone with a customer, they need the answers on the screen in front of them. If they work from a dashboard, they need the answers embedded in their reporting.
Integrate it into the systems that run your business
If you give your workforce usable answers and make it convenient to use them, you’ll have solved much of the last mile problem. However, your teams aren’t the only centers of decision-making for your business. The systems that run your business – your website, call routing, etc. – also make decisions that impact the business outcomes you’d like to improve. When your website recommends a product to a customer, it’s making a decision. When your call routing system sends a caller to a particular queue or agent, it’s making a decision. You need to send answers not only to your teams, but to the systems that have the power to shape your business.
The future of work is already here. We can all agree that is way too much data and we can all get lost in it. But the way forward is for the data to tell us what to do, make it available when and where we need it, and send it to our systems as well.