Is Your C-Suite Failing the Big Data Test?

Too often the critical team members of the C-Suite meet to discuss, analyze and forecast the next steps and actions to be taken for the benefit of the company they lead.

But when the dust settles, critical decisions get made and the information used for making those decisions fails to drive actions within the organization that bring consistent and long term measurable economic results.

High performing C-Suite teams don’t use data solely to justify their actions but apply data to literally change the behavior and response of the entire management team especially at the lowest levels of the company where the real money decisions take place.

To get to the heart of the matter, and measure your own approach to the proper use of good business data, there are common signs that confirm management is failing the big data test.

Data Machinery Not Set Up by the C-Suite to Win the Economic Race

Many companies have an IT department that has assembled multiple data silos filled with almost unlimited data but can’t deliver the data in a usable and coherent form to all levels of management and drive actionable insights and positive economic outcomes.

How does this problem show up within the organization?

Lower level managers often must request specific data sets from IT and then wait for days or weeks to get the result.  Or managers can only make inquiries within the data silos based on prescribed IT inquiry rules that lack the flexibility to give managers what they truly need for a quality business decision to occur.

Does C-Suite management really expect a lower level manager to spend hours finding the right data solutions while still fulfilling all the daily requirements of the job?

If your managers can’t get to the needed insights in 30 seconds or less, your data machinery is not set up to win the competitive economic race in the long term.

Managers Use Supportive Data But Management Behavior Stays the Same

All managers love to use data to review overall corporate performance history and speculate on competitive dynamics but thinking with data is not what a good C-Suite intends.  The right data in the hands of managers should ultimately drive behavior change measured in real economic results. Data that drives real behavior change in management is the goal and real behavior change must be measured by metrics that reflect more profitability, better margins, optimized inventory, minimal waste or expense.

So how can we affect the day to day context of the manager’s life using data?

Managers whose accountability is measured by a high level margin or sales growth but lack the ability to quickly drill down to the real economic story at a specific retail account, business channel, or distribution route level are shackled with a no win scenario.

Strategic objectives from the C-Suite must be connected to individual responsibilities of lower level managers so that real productivity can be measured, rewarded financially and altered rapidly.

How can the C-Suite apply real accountability if the lower managers lack the actionable data to see the problem from different vantage points, identify the possible solutions and take action with an outcome that can be measured in real economic terms?

Bottom line is they can’t!

A simple to use technology dashboard is essential to all levels of management that offers detailed inquiry in seconds not days, and allows flexibility in how the data is viewed so the real causal daily problems can be identified and immediate actions can take place driving positive economic outcomes.

This visual dashboard won’t just be delivering predetermined metrics to managers but will provide access to all historical data associated with each individual manager’s responsibility. And the data can be observed and evaluate from multiple angles with speed. To access all data with speed allows the dashboard to become a highly focused tool for planning and execution delivering visible results for every decision made.

When a manager can see a problem today, make a decision and see the results quickly, management behavior begins to change and accountability is enhanced.

When a single account decision drives positive economic results, it can be rapidly applied to other accounts to evaluate results in a broader setting.  If the results are negative, new decisions are made. This tactic is a proven strategy for long term economic success.

Putting coherent data in the hands of street level managers allows for rapid and consistent tracking of promotions, product mix, inventory management, gaps in distribution, volume growth, margin contribution and overall sales.

In today’s business climate, what do we know for sure?

Data in itself must never be viewed by management as enough.  Data alone is like reading an incoherent series of words placed in a sequence that makes no sense.

But when data can be ordered and viewed in context of a manager’s role, it can become a story that provides needed insights.

The process begins by simply asking “What questions does my lowest level managers need to quickly answer in order to drive measureable economic results?

 

Karl Edmunds, Vice President of Salient Management Company, is a nationally recognized business leader and author with more than 20 years of experience working with suppliers, distributors, and retailers in the CPG industry. His focus is aligning technical solutions with sales, marketing, and organizational needs to drive long-term profitable growth.
Karl Edmunds

About the Author


Vice President, Salient Management Company

is a nationally recognized business leader and author with more than 20 years of experience working with suppliers, distributors, and retailers in the CPG industry. His focus is aligning technical solutions with sales, marketing, and organizational needs to drive long-term profitable growth.