Finding the Sweet Spot: Up and to the Right

Managers no longer have to rely on intuition. We live in a time where we can track and measure more data than ever before. With this sometimes overwhelming amount of information to process, it is important that we structure data so it enables simplified and better decision making. We can begin to be more accessible, welcoming, and informed for all of our client and teammate interactions. Ultimately, our decisions will be more confident and knowledgeable when we effectively use the data that’s waiting at our fingertips.

How do you move your company toward being more data-driven? This is an outline of the path we’ve taken at Gauge to be more empowered by our data.

  1. Assess where all your information comes from, and dive in. When I say dive, I mean pull every Excel/.csv file you can, and figure out what the root source of your data looks like. It’ll get ugly at first, but it gets better, I promise! Tools we’re using at Gauge:
  2. Clean vs. dirty data:
    • Now that you’ve seen your data, are you inputting it correctly? Your data should be consistent so the output is consistent. 
    • Look for ways to clean up the data you’re inputting. The quality of information you can pull out is only as good as what you put in. We created an internal best practices guide for tools we use.
  3. Come up for air, and consider the answers you seek to better lead your company:
    • What KPIs are important to you? Research your industry standards & internal company goals.
    • What does it take to break even? You need to build in a margin of safety, but you have to know what the floor is, first.
    • What is your capacity for new projects? How can you use this information for healthy company growth?
  4. Find commonalities, and look for tools that integrate the data you’re working with. You want to tell a story.
    • Finance: We are in the trial phase of testing the functionality of FathomHQ:
      • It integrates with Excel & Quickbooks Online
      • You can develop KPIs and track them
      • It is an interactive tool; quick and easy to navigate
      • It provides in-depth reporting
    • Marketing & Sales: We’re improving our customer service with Insightly (CRM):
      • It can track the lifecycle and stages of client interactions
      • It improves your team knowledge about each client
      • You can tag important pieces of information for alternative KPIs
        • Number of leads per month, lead conversion rate, etc.
      • It exports files compatible with FathomHQ, which aids in tracking non-financial KPIs
  5. Communicate:
    • Data doesn’t always tell the full story. It’s still vitally important to share potentially useful information with your team. You want to eliminate roadblocks and the hoarding mentality that can arise when people become entrenched in their roles.

Don’t get hung up on the overwhelming amount of data you can process. Learn from your mistakes, and create dynamic tools. Stay open to improving and changing your process along the way. You’ll get better and better at seeing the connections, and will get to your answers faster.

“What gets measured gets managed.” – Peter Drucker

When you find effective tools and use consistent data sources, you can define goals and achieve them! Here is an example of one of the interactive financial reports within FathomHQ:

fathom

I’m excited to live and work in a time where data is so accessible. Now we’re tasked with taking unstructured data and making it structured and connected, finding new insight, revealing relationships, and adding untapped value to our business.

 

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