Data-Driven Decision Making in Practice: Unleashing Information to Drive Business Growth

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

James FisherIn this special guest feature, James Fisher, VP of Global Product Marketing at Qlik, advises that the good ‘ole days of Excel and outdated spreadsheets are long gone, and savvy businesses need to embrace a culture of analytics in order to realize new insights. In his role at Qlik, James is responsible for leading the team that helps drive the product and innovation strategy, messaging, thought leadership and go-to-market strategies. James has over 18 years’ experience in global software and consulting businesses focusing on analytics, performance management, finance and mobile solutions. Prior to joining Qlik, he ran Product Marketing for analytics, mobile and finance solutions at SAP and previously held various marketing and consulting roles at BusinessObjects, Cartesis, PwC and KPMG. James currently resides in the UK.

Take a minute to think about data and how it is used in your everyday life – from how social media sites know what ads to place on your feeds to get you to try a new product or shop at a new store, to how the grocery store knows what coupons to produce for you at checkout – the utilization of data is everywhere, often without you even realizing it is happening. And many businesses are seeing the value in data, but getting everyone on board within a business is another story.

First, we should start by understanding why executives are interested in data drawn from multiple sources in near-real time. Oftentimes, executives are seeking a deeper and more holistic view into their business. For example, they want a solution that will help them see their supply chain and how efficient it is, or an understanding of where their strongest and weakness sales revenue is based, or gain perspective on how shift changes of nurses directly impacts patient care. But what happens when executives approve an analytics solution with the hopes it will streamline processes, identify inefficiencies, and provide a 360view of the business, only to find out that end-user adoption is low?

Periodically, executives jump feet-first into leveraging an analytics solution without truly identifying how they will be able to use the solution and how individuals throughout the company feel about utilizing the solution. As with any adoption of new technology, implementation of a BI and analytics solution doesn’t come without challenges. For example:

  • Individuals and businesses don’t truly understanding the power of and full potential of leveraging a BI and analytics solution and stick with their tried and true, time consuming excel-type reporting methods.
  • Others believe that the quality of the aggregated data from multiple sources is disparate, leaving many executives and key decision-makers within organizations basing critical business decisions on outdated data.
  • The culture of the company plays a significant role into end-user adoption, as employees may not understand how to truly use analytics or lack the skills needed to utilize an analytics solution.

The million dollar question is, “How do you curb the insecurities about utilizing an analytics solution within your business to see your data-driven possibilities and the whole story?” One of the most important things you can do is to educate, train, teach and adopt continuous learning opportunities for employees. This takes the fear and trepidation out of not only using the analytics solution, but also feeling confident about recommendations and decisions made as a result. In addition to educating, training and teaching, it is also important to understand that a dramatic shift is happening within the business world – and this shift is the millennial generation. This generation is infiltrating the job market and is beginning to move into decision-making roles.

The millennial generation has grown up with easy and instant access to information and they are bringing this expectation with them to the office. Whether it is personal data on how many steps they’ve taken today or what their heartrate is during their hour of exercise, the collection of data is second nature to them and may result in behavioral changes that are in direct correlation to what the “data” showed them. In addition to the collection of data, this generation has embraced the idea of sharing the results and expressing how they feel about them through data visualization, helping them tell “their” story. And they are bringing this knowledge, comfort, and understanding to the business world each and every day. This generation will undoubtedly change how we, current decision makers look at, utilize, and depend on data for operating all aspects of businesses throughout various industries. And for those who dream of the good ‘ole days of excel and outdated spreadsheets to come back, well, I wish you luck.


 Sign up for the free insideBIGDATA newsletter.

Speak Your Mind



  1. Thanks for sharing this post. Data-driven marketing is helpful for the business growth.