Recalibrate Your Approach to Data and Analytics

By Ernest Cambareri, Workday Application Management Services Leader, Aon Hewitt

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Each person's unique perspectives impact how they make decisions and operate in the world.

To maximize personal growth, it is important to recalibrate those perceptions and thus, our reality. The first step of this journey is recognizing that perceptions limit our reality and view of the world, as it is actually made up of the collection of unique perspectives that we all have. In order to break down organizational silos, leaders need to recalibrate their reality as well.

When individuals expand their views outside of themselves, they become better communicators and problem solvers. Imagine what happens when entire groups within organizations expand their outlooks by calibrating to other perspectives before making critical decisions. With the increased accessibility of organizational data and analytics, companies can also shift the way they design, deliver and implement HR solutions to better meet the needs of their workforce and organization.

As many organizations move to Software-as-a-Service solutions for HR and financial management as a way to lower their total cost of ownership and improve the user experience, they may also find that there are other benefits they can gain from the cloud. Unified data and real-time reporting and analytics capabilities can serve as a catalyst to help workers break down organizational silos and make more informed business decisions -- making them stronger leaders and better positioning their company for growth.

If the basis for many decisions is data, then mining data in such a way that takes multiple perspectives into account will lead to better decision making. To ensure the analytics provided from SaaS solutions are truly giving leaders new perspectives and meaningful insights to drive action, it is crucial to ask the followings questions of operations, HR, IT and finance professionals:

* What is the business problem that needs to be solved?

* Who is the target audience for the dashboards? The same dashboard can't always cater to the needs of C-level executives and an operations or HR managers, and it shouldn't be expected to. Know the audience and tailor accordingly.

* Is the data just "interesting" or is it "actionable"?

* What are the gaps that the organization needs to analyze?

* What is the vision for deciding which metrics or KPIs are important enough to be displayed in the dashboard? What actions should those metrics drive?

Without a clearly defined metrics plan, the result often is that users don't understand or find little use for the dashboard.

* Where does the data reside and how will it be accessed?

* Should the data be refreshed at regular intervals?

Additionally, it is important that the data informing critical business decisions has integrity and can be trusted. In order to protect the integrity of the data when deploying your system and operations, consider the following:

* Configure business processes in a simple, easy to follow, compliant way.

* Ensure integrations are built by an experienced team that understands the downstream impacts of data errors.

* Build proactive monitoring into your overall operations.

* Provide end-users with several channels for inquiries and data correction requests.

* Monitor operational reports frequently and have a defined procedure for corrections, rescinds and errors.

* During the testing phase of the project, test for the everyday as well as the exception processes.

* Staff and train administrators who understand the technology as well as the function the technology supports.

Human resource, IT and finance professionals have a common goal -- they want to provide strategic value to the business by focusing less on transactional elements and more on impacting growth for the business. Imagine if each functional area worked together toward this growth goal with a unified approach to data and analytics.

Organizations with a clear vision of why it's critical to break down silos and understand data from the various organizational functional perspectives have a distinct growth advantage.

For more information, visit aon.com/recalibrateyourapproach.

Sep 19, 2016
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