ChatGPT and tech


26th August, 2020

Want to enable insight-driven leadership? Start with the foundations

Insight-driven leadership represents a new way of thinking for business operators, and it requires a foundation of clear data and business intelligence.

In a recent customer case study, the chief executive of RML Manufacturing, Daryl Joyce discusses the use of real-time data to produce forecasts and complete useful scenario planning for a multi-regional operation.

For Joyce, the right tools coupled with a clear view of company data enables him to be an insight-driven leader, and so facilitating business agility and future sustainability.

While the techniques behind insight-driven leadership is nothing new, the concept has recently gained ground as a model for operational thinking.

What is insight-driven leadership? 

In a recent article on Medium, Capgemini Invent details the why and the how of insight-driven leadership, discussing how current market conditions are calling for business leaders to bear additional responsibilities beyond what has traditionally been considered their primary responsibilities.

Capgemini Invent describes the challenge as arising from a ‘VUCA-environment’.

“Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity are key aspects of today’s changing business environment,” they wrote.

“Thus, to keep pace and a clear head for decision-making, the leader needs strong soft skills and decision-making backed-up with data insights.”

For this reason, modern leaders are required to place a greater emphasis on data capabilities and management than ever before.

What does insight-driven leadership achieve?

In placing a greater level of focus on the use and management of data, leaders are able to derive a clearer perspective of their operations, its market position and their business’s ability to overcome those challenges into the future.

Some of the key areas that organisations will see benefit from insight-driven leadership include:

  • Efficiency gains — Resources are applied with less redundancy or margin for error, meaning you’re more likely to get the desired result without wasted effort
  • Enhanced risk management — Threats and challenges to the business’s success are identified earlier and with greater accuracy, which makes responding to them simpler
  • Better customer service — An insights-driven organisation has a clearer understanding of its customers through the use of customer data, which can have positive impacts on sales, revenue and brand awareness

Through the effective management and analysis of a full spectrum of business intelligence data, organisations can reap benefits at every level, from marketing to logistics.

There’s little wonder that today’s top businesses are working hard to embed data-centric thinking into all systems and processes.

How do I enable a data-centric culture that generates timely business insights?

The fact is, you can’t become an insight-driven leader without an organisation that is able to deliver the right data analysis at the right time. And to do that, leaders need to focus on both the technology they have available to them, as well as the people who use it.

A recent blog by John Lucker at Deloitte identified that many companies are already ‘making great strides’ when it comes to doing the sort of analytics required to enable insights-driven action.

“Yet, truly becoming an IDO [insights-driven organisation] requires scaling the most effective projects across the organisation, allowing analytics to have an even greater business impact as insight-driven decision making becomes second nature,” wrote Lucker.

“Also, adapting solutions to be repeatable in similar or identical contexts helps bring a production paradigm to the IDO. Adopting the IDO mindset can help businesses do more, faster, and with better results.”

Lucker suggests leaders should begin this journey by detailing your organisation’s goals and gaining an understanding of how analytics may help to achieve them.

“How can you use insights to innovate on the services you provide? Do you have the right mix of technical, analytical, communication, and business acumen to implement and follow through with an IDO strategy? Do you have a clear line of sight from business decisions to data sources?”

As with any far-reaching shift in the way your business operates, developing the right plan of action, which would include many standard features of a change management strategy, is your first step towards truly moving the dial.

“By establishing a strategic framework — a roadmap — for analytics, businesses can find long-term value in their data, improve the quality of decision making, and gain competitive advantage,” writes Lucker.

This is a logical approach, but it assumes pre-existing buy-in from the organisation’s leadership and, while you may be reading this as a CEO or business owner, you’ll still need others to come on board with the direction before any action takes place.

For this, KN Kasibhatla at Forbes suggests that the very first step in becoming a insights-driven organisation is to ‘create an executive action-learning program that enables senior leaders to understand the strategic advantages of building an insight-driven organisation and culture’.

Kasibhatla also highlighted an important facet that can be easily overlooked in the rush to form a plan of action: the current state of data management practices.

This is because many larger businesses suffer from legacy data issues like fragmentation, with ‘far too many islands of data’ siloed in various parts of the business.

“This can lead to multiple views of the same customer data,” wrote Kasibhatla.

“Leadership must bring analytics communities together and develop a single source of truth. Overcoming these challenges is not about technology — it’s a human problem.”

So where should I start?

Championing a new direction for the way a company operates without necessarily changing the goals and expectations of the organisation can be a tricky business. Not only do you need to make a case for the change, you’ll need a clear idea of how that change will take shape ahead of everyone else.

Before rushing headfirst into building out your change management plans or a strategic framework for insights-driven activity, the first thing you’ll need to do is take stock of your situation.

While many thinkers in this space provide plenty of suggestions as to how to begin assessing your people and processes, they don’t spend much time discussing the foundational equipment underpinning your business: technology.

And that is to say, before you can go about cleaning up your data and empowering your teams to deliver actionable insights, you’ll need to perform an audit of your technical capabilities.

The right business management software should be your starting point for delivering necessary organisational change, and it should enable the entire business from end-to-end.

Can your current systems help you create a clear picture of your current market position, while also making room for the organisational change required to implement insight-led activity? Do they give you access to data from every level of your business? Do they deliver this information in real-time, and in a format that allows you to derive actionable insights?

Getting the answers to these questions could spell the difference between future success and expensive failure.

MYOB’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software gives you everything you need to know, when you need to know it, to empower insight-led decision making. Find out more today.