The lessons learned in woodshop and other crafts-making courses in grade school are crucial to keep in mind in the electronic age – Measure twice, cut once. Make sure that you have accurate and precise measurements before making business decisions. Realistically, this first means that your team must collect and record measurements. This seems like a no-brainer activity (it’s never a wise decision to make decisions without information, purely in a vacuum), but it astounds me that so many companies continue business-as-usual without business intelligence systems in place to collect and analyze organizational data.
While some believe dashboards are only a “trend,” dashboards which visually represent business data can be powerful tools to align metrics with the strategic goals of the company. Frequently analyzing data in context of these strategic goals ensure that the company is performing activities that always move towards the company’s core value proposition.
One basic, yet powerful, dashboard tool for those maintaining personal or corporate websites, is Google Analytics. Search Engine Watch has a great write up about using dashboards for better insights. But from SAP, to Amazon and Google, many organizations specialize in selling their proprietary dashboard tools to businesses who need organized data on their internal systems and processes – true BI systems. Dashboards can be set up for anything from marketing to technology departments – any department can (and should!) use forecasting and predictive measures to inform their decision-making. Successful organizations are shifting from decisions driven by beliefs, ideology and past experiences, to evidence based management (Pfeffer, & Sutton, 2006).
To other business analysts out there, what tools do you use to measure twice, cut once?