Good Data Won’t Guarantee Good Decisions

Why won’t it?

Data is good when it is extensive. When your business pursues excellence, it tends to collect data in every form possible. You tend to value each visit to your website, you track each visitor as they scrawl through your webpages, you track each click and each navigation summary by event tracking, and then you track how they came to your pages by search, by a referring site, by an ad or through a link on some website which speaks highly about you. Then you track how many visits were from social media, how many of your blog posts went viral and how much time people spent on your pages.

This does not end here. You have data for operations as well. How many clients, new clients, new and repeat clients in which geographies, what industry clients you added. What is the size of the clients, what is the impact of clients in X geography on your revenues in which quarter, then quarter on quarter etc.

And similarly when you are choosing a software outsourcing vendor, you do what – you collect data.. Good data. Data which is extensive about the software vendors. When were they founded? How long have they been working in the industry? How many projects have they done? Has any of their projects failed? How do they handle attrition of their people? How do they ensure transparency? Do they provide prototype trial? or trial at all? Do they have advance payment? What do they charge? How does their charges compare with other providers in the neighborhood? What is their SLA? What is their support policy? How many clients vouch for them? Is there a way to validate their references? How many references do i speak with so that i understand they are genuine? How do i ensure things stay on track during project execution? What all models they follow? what are their project management and project execution strategies? The list goes on as well. Imagine all this and more number of questions each spitting out data for you which keeps changing every 6 months for every vendor you are researching. Your data or rather your researched data would definitely become rich and “good”. But does it necessarily mean you are taking a good decision?

NO! Please don’t give me that surprised look.

Of course when you have so much data and you cant analyse it properly – All you (and all of us actually) do is shut off the data reasoning and go with what we do best – we go with our intuition based on extrapolation of our past experiences. Does that necessarily mean our decision will be good? We dont know yet we do.

HBR research in April 2012 offers a succinct warning to managers. At this very moment, there’s an odds-on chance that someone in your organization is making a poor decision on the basis of information that was enormously expensive to collect. The study also says that many organizations lack a coherent, accessible structure for the data they’ve collected. They’re like libraries with no card catalog and no covers on their books. The rise of social media, new selling channels, and devices such as tablets and smartphones has made it even harder to manage analytic content. Fewer than 44% of employees say they know where to find the information they need for their day-to-day work.

Hence, while it is important to ensure we are gathering data from all contact points with our clients and vendors, we need to have sufficient time and means to analyse the data and go with it while making a decision. Basing your decisions based on a part of the data – price, or references or gut feel does not always work. What will always work is when you choose a vendor where all these data items in entirety fits in perfectly and aids that positive decision in favor of the vendor. If it does not, stop! Please dont outsource. You will do a better job inhouse than sending work to that vendor.

If you would like to know more on how we work at Mindfire, please feel free to send me an email at . I would be glad to clarify and discuss.




One thought on “Good Data Won’t Guarantee Good Decisions

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