Let’s work around all that data jargon. You know what I’m referring to – big data, data analytics, data warehouse, behavioral analytics, clustering analysis, crowdsourcing, etc. Throw all of that out of your thoughts for the next few minutes, and let me explain the why behind the push towards data-centric approaches across industry and department lines.
Here at Convercent, I am the data quant. I analyze data across departments (Sales, Marketing, Finance and Accounting, Customer Success) to determine areas of opportunity: where we can improve processes, gain efficiencies and make our team as effective as possible. While there are always qualitative components, I strive to make every decision a data-backed decision. As a numbers man through and through, I seek to find the story behind each data point and report that lives in the tools we use across the organization such as Salesforce, ZenDesk, Quickbooks, Marketo, etc.
So when we released our Compliance Metrics Handbook earlier this week, a guide that aims to help compliance professionals and their teams learn the intricacies of how to leverage data for their benefit, I took the opportunity for my voice to be added to this conversation.
Many companies exist for the sole reason of mining, storing, and visualizing data (‘Business Intelligence’, ‘Data Enrichment’, ‘Data Aggregations’, etc). They exist to pull it all together and present your company’s information in a digestible way so it is leveraged by all key stakeholders and not just for the Excel guy in the corner. Take a trip to Silicon Valley to see it in action or do a quick Google search. The data market is calling for a 23.1 percent compound annual growth rate with global organization predicted to spend some $48.6B on analytics and related services, according to a recent report released by International Data Corporation. Of course, with the use of data, comes a slew of new considerations such as security, privacy and data validity; however, with the power it has and the efficiencies it can create, those concerns aren’t something we can’t manage and mitigate the same way we did (and are doing now) with Internet security and privacy, for example.
Yet, at the end of the day, these companies exist because people are seeking ways to gain efficiencies and make more money; the bridge that connects those two variables is understanding how to use data effectively and structuring it in a way that it becomes your source of truth – the rock to your being.
I’d like to focus on some basic tips that will go a long way when you look through your program and scout out the most appropriate data sets and determine how to ethically use them in your program and for the company.
Basic tips to remember when working with data or setting up new systems:
- Prioritize your metrics. Maybe you need to know how many sales leads progressed to customers last week or how many of your employees traveled on business without looking at and attesting to the latest gifts and entertainment policy last year. Whatever information will immediately provide valuable insight and drive decision making will be your best place to start. Even if this process of setting up your systems or configuring your tools takes a bit longer than thought, it’s important to get reliable data on what matters most and keep iterating and expanding. There is only one way to eat an elephant: one bite at a time.
- One bite at a time. When I try to implement too many things at once, either we crash right away or I wake up three months down the road and realize the path we should have taken. It becomes overwhelming and the task seems intimidating. I end up giving up; however, I learned that spending more time on the front-end to prioritize and plan ultimately leads to successful processes that we can solve 1. More efficiently and 2. With confidence. When you look at all the data coming to you from culture surveys, the HR department, even reimbursement receipts – take it one step at a time and ask yourself what are the data points you need the most to solve your problem right now, and then work forward from there.
- Sit down with key stakeholders. Understanding the key actors, their struggles, vision and ideal state will go a long way: what does your CCO or CEO need for the board meeting in six weeks? What information does your department need to make educated decisions on how well your policies align with organizational values and performance? This will give you a pulse on true priorities (for yourself and the organization) and provide a more sustainable scale.
While leveraging data in your compliance program may not be second nature to you, it’s not nearly as intimidating as it may seem. Data intelligence is an investment nearly every company and department is making. From IBM’s $1B drop in its big data robotic tool “Watson” to FinTech companies focusing more and more on data analytics, it’s no surprise that compliance departments are next to follow – if not lead the revolution. Moreover, it seems that every professional in the C-Suite has a software tool that provides critical insights and efficiencies to their world other than the CCO/GC.
Personally, I am very excited to work towards helping compliance departments becoming more data-centric. Compliance is on the cusp of building a lasting and financially lucrative link between data science and impactful decision-making – not to mention the influence it can have on the business as a whole (stock prices, employee engagement, etc).
At Convercent, we have the pleasure of speaking with thousands of compliance professionals every week and share best practices on everything from Helplines and COI to board reporting (which metrics matter!). This guide will walk you through which metrics you can start gathering and analyzing and will teach new ways to look at and use that data to drive decisions, inform the board and foster a strong culture of compliance and ethics in your business.