The Most Powerful Collaboration Tool: Your Organization’s Data
The most powerful collaboration tool you can put in place for your team has nothing to do with chat streams, project tasks, or video conferencing. It has everything to do with giving them a single source of truth for making decisions every day.
Your organization has processes, systems, and software specific to several functions: sales, production, operations, human resources, accounting. Information from those sources are used by their respective functional teams to gauge their contribution to moving your organization forward. Some of this data may be combined in special reports or manually shared when requested. However, the most powerful information becomes available when you share and correlate data across functions in real time.
When you have a clear and holistic view of your organization’s performance, it is easier to find where opportunities exist, and challenges may be looming. With the right information, you, at the very least, will be able to react more quickly. However, if you are using data efficiently, this view can be predictive allowing you ample time to develop strategies to capitalize on opportunity and minimize challenges – that’s powerful.
The two variables that influence the power of your information most are timeliness and accuracy. If you have extremely accurate information an entire quarter after the data was recorded, your ability to react, let alone mitigate any issues or capitalize on opportunities it may reveal, is limited. If you have extremely timely information but it is faulty, your reaction may be a waste of time, or worse, complicate the matter.
Fortunately, timeliness and accuracy are often achieved in the same ways. When you think about the information that will help you make the most informed decisions, you’ll probably find that you need to combine information from different sources within your organization to calculate these key performance indicators (KPIs). If you don’t have your KPIs defined yet, think about which metrics will help you measure your organizational goals and talk with leaders in your organization to understand how they measure their goals.
With KPIs in mind, track down the original source of data you need for each calculation. For instance, the sales team might be tracking estimated versus actual revenue. The estimated revenue probably comes from a system they manage, but the actual revenue number likely comes from your accounting team. Tracking down the original source of each data point will tell you which systems you need to link together eliminating manual reporting and double entry – two prime factors for improving timeliness and accuracy.
These data sources will be the foundation of your data structure and strategy, so it is critical these systems are well-managed. Start with these data sources to conduct a gap analysis that considers and measures variables like:
- Accuracy of information in the original data source
- Timeliness of recorded information
- Which other systems use this information
- How systems are sharing information
Summary: create a powerful collaboration tool with your organization’s data
- Use business data to facilitate more informed business decisions, as well as create and manage accountability across departments
- Define KPIs and data needed for timely and accurate calculation
- Boost timeliness and accuracy of your KPIs by eliminating manual reporting and double entry
- To create a single source of truth for KPIs, start with a systems review and gap analysis