Not only is hiring the right people a driving force behind the success of an organization, but so is being able to collect, interpret, and react to organizational and consumer data, especially in our modern information age. Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems Entrepreneurs and community start-up organizations have is developing, interpreting, and using data to drive decision-making.
To start understanding how to use data to one’s advantage, we first must describe what data is and then describe the different sources of data. Data can be defined as any measurable behavior of an organization. There are many behaviors of an organization that can include financial behaviors – which often is measured through accounting procedures, but there are also other organizational behaviors that can determine the health of an organization. They include:
- Leadership behaviors
- Management behaviors
- Work process behavior (which is dependent on the industry, for service organization it can include customer interaction, for manufacturing it can include the manufacturing process)
- Consumer behaviors
- Organizational health indicators
- Market behaviors – especially when dealing with products
- Industry specific behaviors
A good organization understands that all these behaviors can be converted into some form of measurable data. The data can be categorized not only based on the behavior being measured but also on the source of the data. There are two basic broad sources of organizational data – internal sources and external sources.
Internal sources: Internal sources of data includes everything that an organization does to provide a product or service. This can include but are not limited to management, service processes, manufacturing process, employee training, HR processes, leadership.
External sources: External sources of data are sources of information that an organization may not have direct control over. External sources of data can include but not limited to: consumer behavior, community economic health, product competition, market trends, and marketing reach. While the organization may not have direct control over these trends and forces, the point of collecting data on these external sources is to help the organization respond to changes quickly and increase their effectiveness in marketing.
Not only is it important to understand these sources of data, but a good organization also comes to understand how these different variables interact and use this information to adjust their business model to respond to changing internal and external demands.
The GOOD news is there is always help for organizations to develop a data collection strategy for developing what data needs collected, developing collection strategies, database systems, analysis strategies, and using analysis to drive business decisions. For more information on any of these processes, fill out the following form and start your organization’s strategy towards success through data.