The Insights-Driven Organisation:
A Human First Approach.

9th August 2022

“63% of executives do not believe their companies are insight driven”

We now generate exabytes*(one billion gigabytes) of data daily, being an insight or data-driven organisation is imperative to create business value and drive competitive advantage. Forrester defined the insights-driven business as one that "harnesses and applies data and analytics at every opportunity to differentiate its products and customer experiences."

The prevailing perception is that data possesses limitless potential to drive growth and business agility, enhance customer experience and deliver product innovation. However, despite the focus and enormous investments in data tools and skills, organisations are still struggling to realise this vision. It's clear there is still a disconnect between intention and reality at an organisation and employee level, New Vantage Partners reported that only "26.5% of organisations report having created a data-driven organisation" (New Vantage Partners).

*World Economic Forum

'Houston, we have a problem'

Low consumption of insights and a lack of adoption demonstrate a clear disconnect at the employee level resulting in challenges at an organisational level. This is often attributed to employee skill and capability issues, with the typical remedy being data literacy training and creating a data led culture within the organisation. While these are essential, we believe that organisations must also address a more fundamental challenge, one that needs to be addressed if initiatives focused on employee skills and capabilities are to deliver the changes in behaviour and culture as expected.

Re-framing the challenge

The traditional data and analytics solutions landscape has evolved from a data-led technology-first perspective. It is rooted in old-fashioned top-down decision-making organisational cultures, preconfigured dashboards and weekly reports. The underpinning presumption behind this model is that business people would naturally make better decisions if companies invested in better data and analytics. This has resulted in massive investment into making tools smarter and smarter, but this has created the side effect of increasing complexity and, therefore, reliance on technical specialism to operate these tools. Enter the role of the Data Specialist. Unfortunately, better reports equal better decisions does not support the reality of decision-making behaviour. The dynamic nature of the process is at odds with this technology-first approach and casts us, the humans, as passive receivers of information.

The business implications of this approach is perceived data complexity, a reliance on experts, and a lack of trust in the insights generated. Deloitte reported that "67% of those surveyed (who are senior managers or higher) say they are not comfortable accessing or using data from their tools and resources. The proportion is significant even at companies with strong data-driven cultures, where 37% of respondents still express discomfort" (Deloitte). The same survey found that 2 out of 3 organisations rely on experts to generate data insights: at the expense of time, business understanding and agility. But, even as we are presented data we don’t trust it, KPMG found that "Only 35% of respondents say they have a high level of trust in their own organisation's use of different types of analytics" (KPMG). Business users make significant decisions based on algorithms they don't fully understand and don’t fully trust, why? They are unable to explore, examine or question the data themselves. Poor insights and incomplete data then reduce trust further.

Businesses have more data than ever, however, the lack of flexibility in this data-to-report ecosystem and the disconnect from the business user means they cannot leverage this data to the company's advantage. As data increases in volume and complexity, this approach will only worsen.

It's time for a rethink!

We think that a shift in perspective is required; instead of focusing on the data and technology, we need to take a human-first approach. An approach that focuses on our human intelligence, enhancing our natural abilities to create, interrogate and drive decisions. Human-first technology puts us, the business users, at the forefront, focusing on gaining a deeper understanding of the behaviours that make us excel in what we do, developing solutions to support and strengthen these behaviours. Human-first technology doesn't constrain users to fit into its structure.

It adapts itself to fit into our natural way of thinking, allowing the user to prioritise decision-making over data, analytics, and reports.

Shift from data-driven to decision-driven

Strategic decision-making in today's complex world is a dynamic process characterised by uncertainties. Organisations must make highly accurate and contextualised decisions with increasing speed as they embark on their business transformation journeys.  As employees, we want and need access to data to make these faster more intelligent decisions. Creating a decision-driven organisation requires data to be embedded firmly in the business and integrated into the day-to-day work of business end-users. Collaboration between teams and departments must be supported by breaking any traditional organisational data silos.

We need to be able to delve deeper and explore insights in real-time, allowing us to question, challenge and debate the data. We need to be empowered to exercise judgement and critical thinking to solve our problems and deliver recommendations on the next-best-action. Following through, we need to monitor the results of these recommendations and close the loop on actions that guide continuous improvement.

In a human-first world, users remain in control and have complete transparency and trust in what they and the technology are doing, instilling the confidence to act and commit to a decision. Ultimately, driving better outcomes for the business.

At Hublsoft, we believe your data should facilitate discussion, human interplay, creativity and co-creation, not dictate how we do business. When people work together and are allowed to flourish, amazing things happen.

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