Articles | August 16, 2023

Company data management: data-driven decision making 

How do you start making better decisions based on data and how do you build a data culture? Find out!

data driven company

Do we use data and money the same way? 

A large amount of raw data from the different sources we deal with these days requires the support of business analytics tools, which can help business leaders to make informed decisions and predict upcoming events. I mentioned that data is the most valuable asset that companies have. But do we know how to monetize it? One of the speakers at the Data 2030 Summit conference in Stockholm, which I attended, suggested this simple exercise to participants: imagine that data in your organization is treated the same way as money.

Do you know who has access to it and to what extent? Who brings it into the organization and who spends it? And what if it turns out that money comes into various bank accounts and in different currencies? 

Data-driven decision-making (DDDM) 

It is the same with data – the quantity of data comes from different sources (CRM systems, Excel files, dedicated systems) and can be used effectively or not. Often, even with well-structured data and access to information, the business does not know how to make use of it. To start using data to their advantage, business leaders need to know the questions they want to answer. This is why the role of analysts, whose job is not only to prepare reports but also to draw conclusions from the data, is invaluable. Such work is made easier today by Business Intelligence class solutions. 

What is a data-driven organization? 

Data-driven organizations: 

  • Use data to make decisions – a data-driven enterprise bases all its decision-making processes on data, from cost optimization decisions to implementing new business strategies on an international scale. 
  • Ensure data is available to everyone – using data at every level of an organization is an important element (it is called data democratization, or data democracy). Data-driven decision-making is not just for executives. In a data-driven organization, both professionals and managers use data and analytics to their advantage. 
  • They drive business strategy based on data – decision-makers use data not only to analyze past business events but also to predict future ones. These predictions are therefore based on facts rather than intuition or experience.  

Using data to inform – a data-aware approach 

There is a large group of organizations that can be described as “data-aware”. They use analytics and make decisions with data, but only in specific areas. These organizations operate very similarly to data-driven companies but they do not usually perform prospective analyses and therefore rely only on historical data.

Harnessing data: analytics vs. intuition 

The reasons mentioned above result from limited trust in data at some companies. There are also organizations that reject the data-driven model. These companies prefer to rely on the experience or intuition of their staff. This might be due to a lack of suitable self-service analytics tools to allow them to create different scenarios for the future. The lack of metrics and dashboards makes it difficult to be proactive and make strategic business decisions that align with business goals. 

Creating a data culture 

What is a data-driven culture? In a data-driven culture, decisions are made based on particular figures and information from data. In practice, this means moving away from basing decisions on premonitions to promoting data analysis regardless of department and position. 

When a company develops a data-driven culture, it puts the emphasis on data. It realizes its importance, the benefits it can bring, and just as many risks (e.g. of misinterpretation or cyber security issues). It teaches employees to use data to minimize errors in their decision-making process. The right culture within a company helps to simplify this and reduces risks. 

Use data to answer critical questions in any industry 

We have become accustomed to associating data analytics with advertising, media, and e-commerce. It is also a powerful tool in the hands of marketing, sales, and accounting departments. A data-driven approach supports: 

  • Marketing activities – in this context, they most often help to assess the effectiveness of social media activities, not to mention website traffic analysis or user flow analysis. 
  • Sales activities – in sales, it would be sales funnel analysis and sales channel effectiveness respectively. 
  • E-commerce activities – shopping basket analysis and seasonality of sales. 

However, the door to using data analytics tools and being data-driven is open to any company, regardless of the industry. Our collaborations and Business Intelligence implementations in the healthcare (GE Healthcare) and construction (Skanska) industries attest to this. 


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The advantage of data-driven companies 

Data-driven organizations “play with open cards” when it comes to data and gain several trump cards as a result, such as: 

  • Efficiency – primarily due to the fact that the data in the organization is structured. This creates the opportunity to generate accurate reports. A recent study conducted by Deloitte and compiled in the “High Impact People Analytics” report showed that high-performance organizations make analytics tools available to employees at all levels. 
  • Transparency – making analytics tools accessible to managers at all levels of the organization not only increases productivity but also improves organizational transparency. 
  • Engagement – access to data and the trust shown gives employees a sense of responsibility which, in turn, increases their engagement and impacts productivity. 
  • Speed – the business decisions of a data-driven organization are made based on specific data and facts. This dramatically increases the speed of decision-making. By analyzing real-time data and past data patterns, the decision-making process not only becomes faster but also gives companies confidence that they are making the right decisions. 

Obstacles to becoming data-driven 

Despite the benefits, many companies still do not have a well-developed platform for analyzing and storing data. Data is stored in different locations and organizations do not have a system to manage it. Most often, who should have access to which data and to what extent is not clearly defined. 

Why does this happen? In 2021, we conducted a survey called “Use of Business Intelligence tools in Poland”, which confirmed our assumptions – almost 40% of respondents did not use data analytics tools in their companies. The most frequently cited constraints were a limited budget, insufficient data for analysis, and a lack of analytical knowledge and competence in the organization. Having an IT structure that includes hiring the right data teams and building a data culture are the first steps that companies aspiring to become data-driven should take. 

IT leaders use a data-driven approach 

Among the world’s top companies, we can easily identify those whose business is strongly linked to IT. The common denominator for giants such as Google, Apple, and Samsung is that they use data to make decisions. For example, the Data-Driven Decision Intelligence Model introduced in many divisions of the Samsung brand is now used not only in business processes but also, for example, in supply chain management in logistics or marketing. Samsung Research is just one example of a solution for data acquisition, storage and processing. Such tools, based on the latest cloud technologies and deep learning, are becoming increasingly popular among large companies. 


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Data-driven decision-making – summary 

In recent years, the importance of data has increased significantly, resulting in more requests for data analytics systems. These systems are no longer being used only by the largest companies, but also by specialized modern businesses wishing to use analytics to predict trends rather than just examine historical data – not to mention data visualization. 

Self-service tools such as Microsoft Power BI, Tableau or Qlik Sense, thanks to their intuitiveness and use of data science solutions, offer everyone enormous business opportunities to gain a deeper understanding and build strategies to move the business forward. The first step to becoming data-driven is to collect data, which many companies are already doing today. However, in order to start making decisions based on it, you need to know which systems it comes from and which of them will be valuable in the decision-making process. These are some of the steps we help our clients with. We share our data skills and knowledge to build awareness by carrying out implementations of Business Intelligence systems

A graduate of American Studies at the University of Warsaw and political science at Universidade Catolica Portuguesa. Kamil has extensive experience in recruitment projects for the IT industry. Since 2022, he has been associated with the company as a Business Development Manager. He spends his free time mainly outside the city on walks with his dog, as well as sports and listening to music

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