One of the biggest dirty little secrets in reporting and analytics is the “dusty binder” syndrome.
In prehistoric times (a.k.a. – before 2000), a common complaint about some projects was once they were done all the results were stored in 3-ring binders and left on a shelf to collect dust.
It is still happening in an increasingly digital world. Even though the “dust” is figurative rather than literal, too often there are wasted dollars and hours in reporting and analytics systems developed but not utilized to their full potential.
Sometimes it is because the systems were developed based on erroneous requirements. Other times the requirements were correct but there was a breakdown in the development phase so the system did not perform as expected.
However, there are also perfectly good reporting and analytic systems that don’t get used enough because leaders had a “build it and they will come” attitude. Just because a good solution has been built and installed does not mean it will be used.
Reporting and analytics champions need to take further steps to ensure the ROI of such decision support systems is truly realized:
Create a data-dependent decision making culture
Leaders must communicate a clear expectation that data evidence is needed to support decisions.
Hire for data centricity
Incorporate requirements for “data savvy” qualities in human resources processes.
Develop a corps of competent coaches
Identify, train, and deploy “A” players to mentor other employees.
Seek vendors who “get it”
Ask prospective vendors to prove a track record (with data, of course) that they can support post implementation processes to promote effective use.
Until data driven decision making has become part of the organizational DNA, conscious, disciplined repetition of best practices like these must be applied to get the best results from reporting and analytics.