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Focus on outcomes

How to stay focused on the outcomes you want.
© The Data Lab & Seek And See Ltd

One of the most common mistakes we come across is the use of data just for the sake of it.

For example, because you have been told to “go do a data visualisation project” or because you think the technology is shiny and interesting. Without a focus on business outcomes, and what success looks like for your stakeholders, you are highly likely to end up poorer and older.

The question is, “how do you stay focussed on outcomes that are valuable to your organisation?”. Starting by understanding what is important to your organisation, by looking at your business strategy, is a good first step.

Let’s use the workbooks to bring this alive.

Image of section of the course workbook. 1. Business strategy: The unique combination of things that will make your business successfully compete, differentiate, thrive and grow. 2. data strategy: How data helps you achieve your business strategy. Workbook – Strategy Alignment Canvas (Click to expand)

Using the Strategy Alignment Canvas in your workbook:

  1. Write down the key objectives of your business strategy in the top box. If you are struggling with this, have a look at the example below.
  2. Then taking each of the business objectives, list how the better use of data could have supported, strengthened or accelerated achieving these objectives?
  3. Also consider who your main stakeholder will be, and specifically, what you would like them to say when you deliver them a solution ie what does success look like for them?


An example completed version of the page from the workbook. 1. Business strategy - a. customers: provide a personalised combination of services that differentiate on customer experience so that customers engage with us more deeply and help us co-create our offering. b. employees: create the environment that allows employees to realise their full potential so that they commit to helping us build the best offerings possible and become advocates for our organisation. c. shareholders: to consistently provide above sector. and above market, financial performance that supports our immediate and longer term growth goals so that we provide sustainable return on their investments. d. regulators: build a relationship based upon mutual trust and transparency so that we work together for the good of our customers and our industry. 2. Data strategy - a. customers: create a whole view of customer that identifies new opportunities for growth and shares insights with customer so that they get more value from us, than from our competitors. and actively want to share information with us to improve our offering. b. employees: understand employee needs based upon information they share with us on their career ambitions and development opportunities. c. shareholders: use trusted data to make faster, more informed decision to continually optimise our performance and reduce our cost-income ratio. regulators: visually and dynamically share information that demonstrates that we are making ethical decisions. Strategy Alignment Canvas workbook example (Click to expand)

Hopefully this is helping you to articulate how data can be used to drive value, and most importantly, how to express that value in terms that your stakeholders will understand. Stakeholders will very quickly go cold on you if you are constantly bamboozling them with data terminology that means nothing to them.

Defining what success looks like, by aligning with your business ambitions, helps to frame your initial investment and increase your chance of success.

There are no right or wrong ideas at this stage – we will revisit these ideas as part of later exercises.

© The Data Lab & Seek And See Ltd
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Introduction to Data for Business Leaders

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