Being effective, implementing digital and re-designing services

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Ingesting data is what every organisation does, small, medium or large.  We all do it.  So why don’t we use the insight it can provide?

7 years ago I started itelligent-i having recognised the need to support organisations to use their data effectively, and counter the challenges that stop them from doing so which typically include technology, analytical capability, business process knowledge, data quality, legal and governance (GDPR and DPA), operating models etc.  However my approach was different – a focus on outcomes.  Supporting customers to develop and deploy real insight to effect business outcomes.

The key driver for me starting and developing itelligent-i was working with executive and operational leaders who were making decisions without evidence, or old evidence.  How out of date is your board report when you finally get it? I’ve seen the manufacturing sector in the UK crash, and watched contracts in the finance, insurance and legal sectors lose significant revenue.  All could have been avoided with good up-to-the-minute insight and fast decisions that are monitored.  Across the Public Sector we’ve completed 9 Corporate Business Intelligence Reviews (CBIRs), revealing huge inefficiencies and a fundamental lack of insight across all Services and Departments.  Although the average investment in a Local Authority is around £1.5M per annum in generating data sheets and reports. It continues to worry me how little Local Authorities know about their demand, supply, spend and impact, and therefore how they can make better and more efficient services for customers.

We need to drive outcomes. Developing better services, more cost-effective processes, better outcomes for customers and citizens

Data in all sectors is available through thousands of reports, columns and rows of ‘data’.  When I talk about insight requirements with my Analytics Director for my business, we always base our conversation on the assumption of up-to-the-minute information that one of my analysts will turn into insights in a visualised format from which, I can immediately recognise what is happening across any aspect of my business be it a service, department, customer, HR, finances etc.  In my suite of reports and dashboards I can investigate the insight by filtering, using drill-downs, and drill-throughs.  I have corporate reports, simple reports and some complex analytics that are very specific to my business.

I’m a technologist, and I can do the data and technology ‘stuff’, but I recognised a long time ago that the provision of reports (rows and columns) is a burden to me – I just want the answer, and I want to explore the complex scenarios without waiting on anyone else.  Data that is anything older than a day is also meaningless to me.  Technology enables me to completely remove this burden and provide me with the latest and most up to date insight so I can be a proactive CEO, programme manager and people manager.  My business is clear and transparent to me through the insight I have.  To do this I need my wonderful Analytics Consultants (or analysts as you might know them internally) to turn data from many systems into insight that is continuously refreshed with no human intervention.

In the last 7 years itelligent-i has used its industry expertise to develop an end-to-end Information Strategy Methodology to support the development of a Data Strategy, which can easily be developed into a programme of work.  itelligent-i has developed numerous analytical Accelerators for all Local Government Services and Departments, a data platform infrastructure and a data architecture that adheres to all governance rules.  If followed, the technology, the processes, governance, data quality, up-skilling and so much more will be implemented.  However…

There seems to be a misunderstanding as to why we implement a Data Strategy – why do we need insight, and how can we professionalise analytics and make it a core part of our back office rather than an after thought?  We need to be driving outcomes.  Developing better services, more cost-effective processes, better outcomes for customers and citizens.  To achieve this means embedding analytics at the heart of our organisations.  Not developing insight for others to use, to then inform the leadership.  To be used by every leader, from the Exec through to operational teams.  The data analysed well, by skilled analysts and turned into good insight will provide information so much faster and clearer than a human ever can.  Being Data Driven, using the knowledge provided by the insight when discussing objectives, and implementing the outcomes.  Implementing change Projects and Programmes.  Designing and implementing new processes, new Services, redesigned Services, where to implement digital.

My business is clear and transparent to me through the insight I have

Collecting data and turning it into insight through the process of analysis by skilled individuals is critical for improving or redesigning services.  Using insights from your data to transform services, whether it’s manual processes or implementing digital, is the first step.  If you don’t have an evidence-based understanding of the current state, how can you make the right decisions? If you can’t easily monitor the impact of your decisions, how can you know if your investments have been wise?

Being a Data Driven organisation means we put data at the heart of what we do, and we base our business practices on being guided by the insight our analytics experts provide us.  We’re not a stock market, we don’t have to watch data in real-time, but I always want to have access to the insight to inform decisions, reduce waste and most importantly, make my decisions to change fast and efficient.  If you don’t believe I do it, ask my senior team.  We change to ensure we are effective constantly.  New ideas, new products, support for our customers, internal processes, growth and preparation for, financial analysis and it goes on…

To be an effective leader at any level we need to have the insight that is relevant to us.  Being Data Driven means supporting colleagues across the organisation to have this insight readily available, and to embed its usage.  Being Data Driven means a view of the entire organisation’s needs, and then continuously managing that need as part of our business.  It’s not a one-and-done, and certainly never resolved or implemented if you think it’s a technology ‘thing’.  It couldn’t be further from the truth.

itelligent-i was set up to support business embrace and embed analytics (turning data into insight) into an organisation so it’s able to act as I’ve described.  We’re now working with numerous large and small Local Authorities, Police and private sector businesses.  Through our Information Strategy Methodology which includes the technology implementations, developing analytics and designing and implementing data capture tools, we can help you develop and implement every aspect of a Data Strategy.

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