My data is bigger than your data is not good enough. The challenge most professional services firms face is that they do not have a proactive data strategy that helps inform the right business decisions. Sets of data are often silo-ed and controlled by multiple people who are not collaborating on higher level objectives of the organization. Typically, one set of people are focused on the firm’s compliance aspects of data – their goal being reducing downside risk and ensuring integrity across the firm. Another set of people are putting their attention towards more client-facing data that works to ensure engagement, revenue production and profitability.
Balancing each side of these data needs is crucial in order to properly support the firm’s overall data strategy. Tactics often collide when these two sides of data controls are not working together collaboratively. Simply having data does not translate into information that provides understanding. For instance, a single referral rate percentage simply supplies a fact but if you incorporate that number into historical data; look at industry benchmarks; and add geographic factors – this becomes information that you can interpret into your firm’s decision making.
Often firms have multiple data sources that are relied upon for the firm’s business intelligence. Having a single source of data is the absolute best approach to aligning compliance and client-facing information. Bringing together the stakeholders to develop the data source with shared, unchanging practices is key to making a data strategy successful. This method provides consistent facts while allowing for functional information extraction from the data, which ultimately provides business intelligence.
If you think that having a data strategy is not important to your business, think again. Data traffic will likely double in the next four years. Technology is already providing and developing data management capabilities. How a firm uses the technology they have access to and interpret the data from those systems could create a competitive advantage through informed business decision making. As always, start with your WHY. Understand why you are looking for certain information and connect that need to a firm level business objective.
When you want to understand your data – start strategizing.