Data-Driven Hacks Part 2: How Can You Master the Past to Own the Future?
In my previous blog, I introduced the fact that real time isn’t always enough. In many cases, real-time data leads to reactive decisions. Not very conducive in our ever-evolving digital world.
But you’re not alone. I have four hacks—all driven by data—that can help your organization benefit from a vast array of insights. Here’s hack No. 1.
Hack No. 1: Mastering the Past to Own the Future
DevOps may see a negative connotation when they’re told to stick to the “process.” For them, speed and innovation is what’s most important. And they see established systems and processes as speed bumps.
If innovation could talk, it would say, “Process is bad.” But the truth is that not all process is bad.
What actually slows the process or adds levels of complexity is the application of the process. How a process is interpreted or followed can hinder productivity. Let me expand on this.
The very definition of an expert is understanding how something works. So the better you know your process, the better you can navigate how to implement the process for speed.
Can you go to the drawing board and clearly draw out the steps required to move from Point A to Point B?
If you can’t, you’ll never be able to move from a reactive organization to a proactive one. That’s because you don’t understand the process.
More times than I can count the experts that are in tune with the processes have them mapped out in their minds, or somewhere you don’t have immediate access to, such as buried in enterprise resource planning software (ERP) systems. To the average team member, it looks like the process kind of just happens. And it’s hard to figure out how exactly it works because it’s automatic.
But when you get down to it, the process becomes simple like the following diagram:
You have to make the process visible to see how to navigate to the finish line as fast as possible. A map will help you learn how to get from Point A to Point B and vice versa. He or she who masters the process will be the expert on how to innovate.
In fact, Nordstrom uses a third-party application to track the media access control (MAC) address of a smartphone to analyze customer behavior in the store. Using this tool, the retailer can find out where in the store most customers linger or how often a phone user shops at a particular location.
On the other hand, in 2015, Daimler, BMW, and Audi collectively spent €2.8 billion ($3.2 billion) to acquire HERE, Nokia’s mapping division. The purpose of this acquisition? Simple. Having an in-house mapping technology for these three German automotive companies mean that they can integrate it more effectively into the navigation systems in their cars.
Taking Action Now
If you’re going to understand something, you need to know how to recreate what happened and build a process map. Start with a simple process, something you control directly, and write down what you believe to be the process. Take it step-by-step, from the beginning until the end. Do not leave any part of the process out. Then go through each step and ask yourself, “What could cause this step to be different that might result in a changed outcome?”
When you’re researching your specific process, you’ll get down to the nitty gritty of how things work. You must master this process if you are to become an expert in your own right. Start simple. Try to map out the purchasing process. Then consider what could influence the experience in each step of the process. Once you do that, you can begin to predict what the customer will buy and whether you can affect their purchase. This is using real-time data to pull out insights that can speed up your process, not slow it down.
Please share your experience with process below, and then visit me next time when I’ll share the second of four data-driven hacks: How Can You Access Talent to Dig into Data?