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Why democratising your data is crucial.

Excerpted from "Why Is It So Hard to Become a Data-Driven Company?" by Randy Bean - published February 5th, 2021

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Just as in the commercial industries, the association industry see the profound benefits of managing data as a business asset, forging a data culture, competing on data and analytics, and using data to drive innovation - and many are succeeding. In this latest survey, 29% reported achieving "transformational business outcomes" during the past year - so what is holding the others back?


A newly released executive survey revealed that 99% of major companies invested last year in data and analytics, and 91.9% of firms report that the pace of investment in these projects is accelerating. 

Here are Harvard Business Review's key findings from the study.

Cultural Challenges

For the fifth consecutive year, executives report that cultural challenges — not technological ones — represent the biggest impediment around data initiatives. In the 2021 survey, 92.2% of mainstream companies report that they continue to struggle with cultural challenges relating to organisational alignment, business processes, change management, communication, people skill sets, and resistance or lack of understanding to enable change. This represents an increase from an already high percentage of 80.9% of firms that named cultural challenges as the greatest impediment to success just four years ago. 

As management guru Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

Given these findings, executive leadership should consider three pragmatic recommendations.

Recommendations to Improve Data Culture

1. Focus your data initiatives on clearly identified high-impact business problems or use cases. By starting where there is a critical business need, executives can demonstrate value rapidly through “quick wins” that achieve tangible results, build credibility for their investments in data, and use this credibility to identify additional high-impact use cases to build business momentum. 


Acumen Fastest ROI - Association Analytics: The Acumen Business Intelligence (BI), Engagement Scoring using Unstructured Data, and Analytics solutions lets you select where you wish to begin and prove the value. Acumen is software subscription tailored for you. 90%+ of all implementation’s tasks including data cleansing and governance gets done within 2-4 months with regular ongoing coaching and support. 



2. Re-examine ways that you think about data as a business asset for your organisations. Data flows like a river through any organisation. It must be managed from capture and production through its consumption and utilisation at many points along the way. 


Fast Data - Association Analytics: With Acumen, data is extracted from your old and new critical systems. Data is deduplicated and blended in a fast data lake and warehouse providing actionable insights on; engagement scoring, retention by member type, adoption of services, event attendance, non-membership sales and much more. 



3. Demonstrate your commitment to a data-driven transformation. Investments in data, data literacy, programs that build awareness of the value and impact of data within an organisation, represent an important step in the right direction. Don’t lose patience or abandon efforts. 


Do Less Work - Association Analytics: Provide leadership and staff in each department with centralised accurate and tailored drill-down visual dashboards that provide daily insights into the functional areas. Enable everyone to make more informed decisions and do less work.   


Harvard Business Review's Conclusions 

It’s worth noting that companies have made great progress over the course of the past decade. When this survey was first launched nearly a decade ago, mainstream companies had just begun to embrace Big Data and its expected transformational impact: Big Data and AI received minimal investment; few companies had developed formalised programs and articulated a corporate commitment; and the function of a Chief Data Officer was non-existent, except within a small handful of companies. 


In the intervening years, the percentage of organisations reporting the appointment of a Chief Data Officer has increased from 12.0% in 2012 to 65.0% in 2021. 


81.0% of executives surveyed this year indicated that they have an optimistic outlook for the future of data and AI within their firms. There is no question that Big Data has been absorbed into the mainstream. 



Do less work by becoming a Data-Driven Association.

We encourage you to explore with us the quick wins and rapid cultural acceptance that can be achieved within 2-3 months using Association Analytics solutions purpose-built for you. 


Centralised visual dashboards for all levels of your staff and your different areas; engagement scoring, membership, marketing, events, advocacy, sales, etc.

Acumen already comes with pre-built IT connections to your CRM and all IT systems. Ready to use right out of the box and 100% tailored for you. 


Save time and operating costs on IT data integrations tasks and projects, instead invest a small amount to purpose-build business intelligence and engagement scoring to future proof success with less work. 


Join lunch time peer-led executive gathering to explore, learn and compare. 

2020 decisions were by force. Make 2021 decisions by choice.

Find out more contact Chris Robinson, e: