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Strategy | 3 min read

The Role of IT Strategy in Enabling Data-Driven Decision Making

Alec Brown
Written by Alec Brown

Business leaders understand that data is key in guiding the strategy needed for growing organizations to reach their goals. Data will show patterns that can be used to make predictions and support organizational-level decisions such as how to optimize processes, increase profits and improve team performance.

Mining this data correctly can be tricky. The right data team must have the kind of data literacy needed to make the right decisions based on what they’ve found.

A skilled managed IT services provider can help with a data-driven approach. They’ll assist in organizing your efforts and empowering your decision makers with the information necessary to turn data into actionable insights that could transform your business.

In this article, we’ll learn more about how to make data-driven and informed decisions, as well as how a well-constructed IT strategy can help.

What is Data-Driven Decision Making?

Data-driven decision making (DDDM) is the process of strategically collecting key points of aggregated data and analyzing it to provide metrics that will guide future business decisions. Data and data analytics provide crucial organizational insights.

If properly analyzed, data results in metrics used by C-suite executives and other key stakeholders. It can even make for a significantly better customer experience.

When staff can access the data they need and receive proper training in analyzing data, it will encourage the use of DDDM throughout your organization.

The human desire to question and investigate complements the fact-calculating nature of data. And the pair together can create actionable insights geared toward moving an organization forward.

How to Harness the Power of Data

Collecting and analyzing your organization’s data will give you the knowledge you’ll need to make organizational decisions with confidence.

First, gather your team members and make sure everyone’s on the same page. This will promote teamwork and encourage everyone to think critically as they strategize how to collect, analyze and use the data to achieve organizational goals.

Harnessing the power of your organizational data will provide you information and decisions such as:

  • When to launch a new product
  • How your current product is received
  • Whether more marketing is needed
  • Where you can gain efficiencies
  • Whether you should discontinue an obsolete service
  • Where to expand your organization’s geographic footprint
  • … And much more

RELATED: Do I Need Managed IT Services? 4 Signs that Point to ‘Yes’

Key Elements of a Data-Driven IT Strategy

Your annual organizational objectives are a great place to start your DDDM IT strategy. Define the indicators (quantitative and qualitative) that will assist in reaching your goals. These metrics will be your key performance indicators (KPIs). When collected properly, KPIs will guide you to transform your data into actionable insights.

SMART criteria are often used to evaluate the relevance and effectiveness of KPIs. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound, which provides details on the following:

  • How specific the goal is
  • If the goal is clearly measurable
  • If the goal is reachable
  • Whether the goal is related to your main objectives
  • Your specific timeframe of when the goal is reached

Tracking your KPIs is also important. Reports generated on a set timeframe (e.g., weekly, monthly or quarterly) or an interactive dashboard are used frequently.

Implementing Effective Data Management Practices

How you manage your data is just as important as mining it. Be sure to use a standardized file naming system your entire team will understand. This will allow teammates to find their needed data more quickly and streamline the process for analysis.

A data management software solution can also assist in aggregating data, extracting what you need for analysis and creating visuals to better interpret your data trends. This can help with efficiency and eliminate some of the repetitive tasks.

Data visualization is another key element. Presenting the data in a readable manner goes a long way in the decision making process. How you present this data may differ based on the intended audience. Spreadsheets, graphs, charts and interactive dashboards are commonly used methods.

Revealing Valuable Data Insights for Organizational Success

The trends revealed by data analysis will be valuable to make predictions for future organizational decisions. Using best practices in your data collection and analysis will ensure clean and accurate data.

Data security should also be top of mind. Make sure your data has multi-layered security, and grant access to only the data sets that each individual needs to do their job.

In addition, remember that businesses are exposed to potential security threats every day. A comprehensive security stack will reduce the potential for a malware attack or data breach from a hacker.

Elevate Your Approach to Technology Management

The reactive model of only dealing with problems as they arise is out of date. If your approach is only reactive, your competitors will leave you behind. Taking a proactive approach puts you in a better position to achieve your goals.

Proactive businesses are rethinking their IT strategy by partnering with Elevity, a managed IT services provider ready to deliver technology, security, solutions and support that helps organizations scale and grow. Our methods include putting together strategies and coming up with solutions that push your business forward. We follow that up with continued support along the way.

The old ways of managed IT won’t cut it in today’s world. Businesses wanting success are wise to turn to a comprehensive Technology Management solution to address growing needs rather than simply fixing what’s broken.

Want to take a closer look at the differences between a robust outsourced Technology Management service and a traditional IT department with a break/fix model? Download your free Traditional IT vs. Technology Management infographic with a side-by-side comparison.

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