Making data-driven decisions is becoming a talk of the Egyptian business community, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing companies to make critical decisions faster than ever with limited information. Companies’ business models have changed. The way people work has changed. Decision-makers at all levels have an urgent need to make the right decisions and make them fast.
Sherif Makhlouf, a member of the Egyptian Junior Business Association (EJB) and CEO at Boost, provided his recommendations for organisations looking to become more data-driven and how to make sure their data projects are successful.
Makhlouf said that many organisations struggle to achieve the results they were looking for when embarking on digital transformation especially data-related projects due to some common errors. He recommended the following for thriving data projects:
1- Develop a data strategy and plan
A vision of where you want to go with data and analytics. Once you have the two components well-understood, you need a documented step-by-step plan that addresses the people, processes, and technology required to achieve your goals. If you don’t have a data strategy, now is a great time to put one in place.
And if you do have one, it is probably time to re-visit it and see if it needs to be updated or tweaked based on changing business goals.
2- Have the basics in place
In your attempt to move quickly, you will very quickly hit a limit of what you can do if the basics aren’t in place. Slick software with a great demo can be convincing but can sometimes lead an organisation astray on costly distractions if it does not meet your needs.
You probably need a data warehouse, or a relational database at the core of your data infrastructure – a place to store rows and columns of data. You may need a data lake for especially large volumes or certain types of data. Robust analytics or Business Intelligence software will be a must. If you might need the help of a data analytics consultancy to get this stuff right.
3- Get data into the hands of every decision-maker
Warehouse managers need analytics on logistics activities. HR managers need analytics on hiring and employee retention. Sales and marketing people need analytics on clients and prospects. Relying only on the reporting features included with operational systems, or worse, using Excel as your main analytics tool will result in unreliable and inaccessible analytics.
4- Find a trustworthy partner
Finally becoming data driven is a journey and not a destination. Don’t risk the future of your business on figuring-it-out-as-you-go. Find someone who has been there and done that and bring the right expertise into your organization to avoid many mistakes and ensure success.