The answers to these questions were and are critical for implementing the right strategies and tactics to win. Likewise, the absence of answers to these questions are equally impactful. Leaders spend enormous amounts of time and energy defending against all the possibilities represented by a lack of data. Think about a scenario of being lost in a dark forest at night with an unknown dangerous predator lurking about. Which direction would you face? How would you defend yourself? It is difficult in the best of times, but the absence of data can make it even more excruciating!
Leaders of the past could often be excused for making wrong decisions due to their lack of available data, but there are far less excuses today. Today in business the fog of war can largely be lifted with the combination of sensors and the collection of experience and operational data.
Experience data is data collected on a person's experience interacting with your company, people, brand, product, services, websites, mobile apps, brick and mortar locations, business processes, etc. Experience data collected from employees and thousands of customers with millions of interaction points provide leaders with a clear understanding of where they are succeeding and where they are failing customers, partners and employees. Successes can be scaled, and failures reduced with experience data.
Operational data is data on the business much of which can be automatically produced, collected, analyzed and executed on automatically via ERPs and other systems and platforms. How many orders did we receive and for what products? Do we have all the right materials to manufacture the required products? Where are the materials located? When will they be delivered? Are the manufacturing plants operating efficiently? What equipment needs replaced and repaired. Where are my fleets of vehicles and service personnel? Data can be collected via sensor networks, automated data collection, GPS responders and through many other systems all of which produce data that leaders need in order to run an efficient and profitable business.
The combination of both experience (X) data and operational (O) data in near real-time from around the globe can provide insights and guidance for leaders never before available. Reducing the unknowns, frees leaders to focus on the knowns. This simple statement masks a revolution in leadership.
W. Edwards Deming, the father of quality improvement, once said, “The biggest problems are where people don’t realize they have one in the first place.” These “blind spots” – the unknown status of a customer experience, project, business process, schedule, delivery or available materials, for example – must be relegated to the past.
Today, we have the ability to remove conjecture and work with precise data. However, many companies have yet to evolve from legacy business models that were based on the “unknown and imprecise,” and continue following “estimate-based” models where unknowns are built into their plans. Others have yet to implement a comprehensive process for collecting and utilizing X and O data across their operations. As a result, these organizations have yet to update their strategies and tactics to support new business models and processes that take advantage of real-time X and O data-based precision. Ignoring today’s X and O data-based revolution" is hard to justify today.
Deming also said, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” Today, taking advantage of the “known” is a must if surviving is in your plan.
SVP Strategy, Regalix Inc.
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Website Regalix Inc.
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.