/ Flying Blind? Most Business Leaders Lack the Data They Need

As a business leader, you help pilot your organization.

You have data that, like the instruments in a pilot’s cockpit, help you measure exactly how high, how fast, and in what direction your organization is flying. But if you don’t have access to all the information you need, you’ll find yourself flying blind to the opportunities and threats that constantly surround you. Business leaders who find themselves in this situation often lose their way—and risk taking their companies down with them.

Here are two reasons that business leaders are flying blind, and how to introduce a greater degree of clarity.

Reason #1:

When your data lives in different spreadsheets, systems and applications, it‘s difficult to see the big picture. You’re left having to cobble together a host of disparate reports to understand trends, causations and correlations in your data. Any omission—no matter how small—can leave you blind to information that would be critical to your next business decision.

The CEO of a prominent retail organization had cut a national product line that was posting subpar sales revenue. Shortly after halting production, however, the brand manager showed the CEO a map of sales by region, where they identified that the product was doing well in two states. The CEO immediately decided to cut a different line and reintroduced the better performing product—preserving up to half a million dollars in high-margin revenue. Despite the fortunate save, folks were left wondering how many half-million dollar mistakes had already passed unnoticed because they didn’t have access to the information they needed.

When business leaders can see all their data in the right context, they eliminate unnecessary guesswork and improve the decision-making process.

Reason #2:

Getting timely, accurate data out of your own department is hard enough; getting what you need from other departments is even worse. Though departments are generally willing to share information, there often aren’t good processes in place to do so, and departmental silos develop.

But despite the inherent difficulty, sharing information across an organization is critical to enhancing its reach, impact, and growth. For example, a marketing department needs to track more than just how many leads it pours into the sales funnel. For marketing to measure lead quality and determine where to allocate its budget, it needs information from the likes of sales, finance and operations to evaluate effectiveness:

  • What lead types are converting to customers?
  • What is the average cost per lead source?
  • Which leads have the highest customer lifetime value (CLV)?
  • Which clients are the least expensive to get up to speed?

Running a business is rarely a solo operation; when leaders have co-pilots, so to speak, who are on the same page and share much-needed information, then efficiency and smarter business practices are always within reach. When data is tied up in individual departments, however, the entire organization risks losses that could otherwise be avoided.

What’s standing in between you and the data you need? How do you get past those obstacles? Let’s chat in the comments.

This blog post is a section of the executive brief “4 Reasons Business Leaders Are Flying Blind (And how to eliminate the danger).” Read the entire brief for free in our Learn Center.

Tags: Analytics, data

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