Data-driven working

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“We really should do something with data.” No doubt you’ve heard people in your organisation coming out with this phrase more than once. Maybe you’ve already been saying it yourself for some time. But which data are we specifically talking about? And what can you do with it in practice? At House of Performance we’re capable of translating the data you have available into usable information, so that you can make better decisions based on facts, figures and domain knowledge. We call this ‘data-driven working’.

Data-driven working should stem from daily practice

Everyone works in a data-driven way. After all, each of us constantly takes decisions based on data. You also do so when at work.

Many of the organisations with which we work sense the importance and the potential of making better use of the data that’s already available within the organisation itself. Investments are being made in what may be referred to as data fundamentals and smart products. Yet what we also see is that the implementation of sustainable and successful data-driven working often comes to an abrupt halt because it doesn’t fit in properly with the technology that’s already there, with the way of working or with the organisation itself. We believe that if you want to work successfully in a data-driven way, you need to start doing so in daily practice, in the workplace. This technique is a tool to help you get somewhere; it’s not a destination in itself.

It’s primarily about a change process

If effective data-driven working starts with the realisation that you’re primarily dealing with a change process, let’s get to work. House of Performance begins by mapping the decision-making processes and determining which information would be required in order to further improve the ways in which decisions are made. We normally prepare this analysis for an organisation within six weeks. After that, we work together to take the first steps in the transition towards data-driven working.

“Data-driven working sounds great in theory. But what does it actually mean in practice – in concrete terms?”

Examples of data-driven working

I can hear you thinking, “Data-driven working sounds great in theory. But what does it actually mean in practice – in concrete terms?” Well, let’s take a call centre. Knowning that the average caller is kept on hold for 90 seconds doesn’t mean all that much in itself. But if you also know that huge numbers of customers hang up after one minute on average if they haven’t spoken to anyone by then, 90 seconds is too long to be kept waiting.

Data, rather than words

Data-driven working at local authorities

Local authorities in the Netherlands are currently experimenting with data in a range of different ways. They can see the opportunities that data-driven working offers in enhancing their citizens’ satisfaction. For instance, the Association of Dutch Municipalities recounts that the Zaanstad Council realised that getting to grips with data-driven working starts with making the whole issue simple. This is precisely House of Performance’s viewpoint on implementing data-driven working too. Just read our blog:Data-driven working is not new and not difficult. In the case of Zaanstad Council, the solution was not to have a pool of data scientists but simply to construct an easily understandable dashboard based on all the domain knowledge already available from colleagues already working on the matter in question. Rotterdam Council is also a good example: thanks to data-driven working, it now collects rubbish in a smarter way. In fact, it even has a programme running till the end of 2019 called ‘Data rather than words’. In this programme, Rotterdam Council gives shape to its ambition to be a network city that makes optimal use of data opportunities.

Five situations in which data-driven working leads to better performance:

  1. The people from the business section and the IT/data department don’t understand one another.
  2. The IT/data department pulls interesting insights out of the data that’s available, but the operational department doesn’t do anything with it.
  3. The operational department isn’t sufficiently capable of defining a business case. So who needs which data and why?
  4. You know that processes could be more effective, but how? And what could automation contribute to this?
  5. The business is taking too many decisions based on ‘gut feeling’.

Results of data-driven working

 

It’s clear that precisely what data-driven working could deliver will vary according to the situation. But because you can make better decisions based on hard facts and figures, it could mean:

Optimising digital services

Digital services are certainly very suited to data-driven working because there’s already a lot of data available for you to work with. The challenge lies in determining which data offers you added value, where you can find this data, and what you will gain from being able to access it. But then you still need to be able to view it easily. Power Bi is a tool that you could apply to visualise the data in a dashboard that offers you a clear overview.

Making customer contact points more personal, smart and accessible

Our Dutch Cabinet also sees the opportunities offered by data-driven working. Reading through the Prince’s Day 2018 statements, it’s clear that the Cabinet views it as a priority to make improvements to digital services in order to be able to offer better help to citizens. The Cabinet is therefore making funds available for improving the contact between governmental organisations and citizens. For instance, it is looking at where and how data (and other initiatives) could be used to enable governmental organisations to give citizens and businesses more autonomy. These initiatives are being shared on the ‘digital government’ platform.

Increasing customer satisfaction

Data-driven working can help you to respond better and more quickly to your customers’ expectations and wishes. For example, we used it to help a large organisation’s call centre to increase and strengthen the use of existing customer contact data. By making optimal use of the data, a call-centre employee now receives a real-time description of the question being asked by the caller on the line, together with a suitable answer based on probability. This results in happier customers, because they’ve been helped more quickly and in a better way. Besides this, our way of working has led to a huge reduction in costs: €1.75 million in this case.