Becoming a data-driven organisation

cleveland museum

As I’m looking into improved ways to collect and report KPI data, came across some great readings around how to better become a data-driven organisation – how to encourage staff across all levels to use data in everyday decision-making and, therefore, keeping the audience at the forefront of the museum’s work.

Elina Sairanen, a 2017 intern in MOMA’s digital department, wrote a useful piece, What Does Data Have to Do with It?, noting the following:

A defining characteristic of data-driven organisations is that they predominantly base their decisions in the rigorous analysis of data rather than are guided by the human mind and instinct solely. … Erik Brynjolfsson, et al (2011) found firms that adopt a data-driven decision-making approach have output and productivity 5–6% higher than what would be expected given their other investments and information technology usage.

… an essential requirement is to install and maintain an analytic culture. … not an overnight change and requires support from both senior management and staff at all levels as well as a shared understanding of importance of data for decision-making.

She outlines a series of tips from the field (which I have slightly adapted):

  • Create an organisational culture in which data is saluted and celebrated rather than disregarded
  • Establish cross-departmental communication concerning the use of data in your decision-making
  • Approach analytics and metrics strategically and formulate a plan to guide you through the transformation
  • Have a cross-departmental dialogue about specific metrics and goals that would be useful to your museum and related to your mission and KPIs

Finally, she notes that there are “… two important points to this action: spark an interest towards data within your museum and make sure people share the same understanding of the terminology and significance of the specific metrics”.

Forbes, Becoming A Data Driven Organisation, details many of the same ideas (again adapted):

  • Start with the why
  • Remember that your issue is probably not a lack of data, but too much data, stored in many different areas by many different people and, therefore, inaccessible
  • Conduct a simple data inventory (what I’m doing!!) – simple being the operative word – trying to be too comprehensive will take you down too many rabbit holes
  • Develop the skills within the organisation to manage and report on data – but delegate one (or two) people to take overall ownership

And then, “… building a team with actual business experience is equally critical to appropriately turn the analysis into actionable insights to guide the decision-making process”.

Overall lessons in creating a dashboard or visualisation from this series of posts (referenced below) are to:

  • determine what metrics are universally useful across the organisation – and what you may already have
  • identify the audience for the report(s)
  • design a visual report using pen and paper
  • not feel you have to report every analytic
  • use readily available tools (e.g. PowerPoint) and don’t try to be too fancy
  • go for it!

Finally, there’s a new research study being conducted by @DafJames and @katiprice, looking at how cultural organisations value and measure digital impact which is relevant to this discussion. You can take their survey here.

Previous Posts:

dilbert 2

Dilbert always comes to the rescue!

3 thoughts on “Becoming a data-driven organisation

  1. Rob Hall says:

    Ironically, the information in the dashboard shown at the top of the post doesn’t seem to have been updated on the museum website since 2015 (the year after it was launched. This suggests that the museum didn’t find it useful — maybe a kind oif “dashboard wash” to look up-to-date but of little other value.

    It also displays data but leaves one with the “so what?” feeling. Shouldn’t a good dashboard provide insights, or at least, provide the tools to create insights?

    Just saying…

  2. lyndakelly61 says:

    Thnx for that Rob. I noticed that a few of the museum dashboards I have referenced don’t seem to be in use anymore. And yes, I agree. I’m thinking that a fancy dashboard developed with an IT person may not be the way to go. If you have any examples of good dashboards / visualisations I’d love to see them! They’ve been surprisingly hard to come by.

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