Four ways to start making better, data-backed business decisions
Business leaders and individual contributors simply have to base decisions on data to keep a competitive edge.
Every day, business leaders make decisions that can impact the entire organisation everything the business touches — from prospects to customers, employees, and even the organisation’s reputation. Many, if not all of these decisions carry some risk. To mitigate that risk, and with the ready availability of technology and analytics, it only makes sense that leaders should base decisions on concise, accurate, and complete data.
But how do leaders get their hands on this data? It’s a challenge we hear often.
Organisational data can be locked away in disparate sources, like spreadsheets, ERP, or legacy software (IT professionals often call these “data silos”). Getting access to these systems and compiling the information in a consumable way is a complicated task.
Big organisations will often employ data scientists to handle the intricate tasks of locating, connecting, cleansing, parsing and presenting data. But even in those ideally-resourced situations, there are challenges. It can take a long time to identify and gain access to data sources, and that means business leaders can’t get information fast enough to make decisions. There’s no standard method to collate data, which creates a highly-subjective basis for decisions, and different leaders present findings in their own ways, so time is wasted on low-value tasks.
When data is inconsistent and/or inaccessible, the risks of poor decision-making remain and, arguably, get worse over time. Depending on the decision and the decision-maker, not using data or using inaccurate data can result in fines, legal sanctions, unintentional fraud, or reputational damage to the organisation or leader.
So how do you ensure a flow of timely, accurate data?
Connect data sources and centralise information in a single platform
Centralised data creates a “single source of truth.” Everyone across the organisation sees the same information, and there is no chance of working with outdated versions or data sets missing critical points. With leading platforms, the data is read non-destructively, so the original sources (ERPs, CRMs, and so forth) are not impinged upon, and information retains its integrity.
Use robotic data automation and workflows to quickly and accurately manage repetitive tasks
Once data flows into a single spot, it can be mined for insights. This can be monotonous and, to be frank, boredom creates mistakes. Here robotic data automation comes in. Imagine you have 2,000 invoices in your system, and you want to look for possible fraud. Robotic processes can flag any instances where the dollar amounts are the same, or instances where a vendor regularly changes their contact information.
Once robots have flagged questionable invoices, automated workflows can deal with the findings. Workflows might consist of procedures that flag specific invoices for review by the finance team and ensure each is given attention. In this way, the organisation has taken giant steps, not only in efficiency but also gained in quality assurance and lowered overall risk.
If this is an area of specific interest, we urge you to follow this link for a relevant case study as further reading.
Ensure rock-solid curation of regulatory content that’s actively updated
If getting accurate data internally is tough, pulling required information from the many legal and governing bodies in multiple trading zones is more so. It’s an uphill battle to gain complete coverage of regulations as they pertain to each part of the business and, unfortunately, there’s no single canonical source of information — or at least, not one that is consistently up to date.
Furthermore, providing information to auditors and regulatory bodies has to happen in precise ways that also vary. But for legal compliance, such hoops must be jumped through, without exception. Doing so with finite resources means ensuring an efficient and accurate data assembly process.
Modern GRC platforms can connect to regulatory systems’ APIs and pull content directly, so little time is spent manually chasing revised regulations. The GRC platform will also cross-check regulatory overlap, so complying with Regulation A may also tick the box in terms of complying with Regulation B, which pertains to an entirely different geographical area. That insight cuts duplicated effort and saves on the costs of compliance.
Invest in the presentation of findings
As touched on above, gathering and processing required data with regards current and future risk is never simple, yet findings can be lost, in real terms, by poor presentation. A poorly-designed phone app, a poor GUI and third-rate user experience will ensure it’s never used — at least, it won’t be used properly. In ensuring decision-makers understand risk and compliance in their everyday dealings, the same is true. We may consider presentation a final detail, but the truth is the exact opposite.
In an ideal world, executive decision-makers should be able to access relevant, real-time data via self-service, in formats that are palatable, insightful and providing the correct amount of granularity.
The self-service aspect of this equation cuts out the danger of static information being past its sell-by date. Stakeholders, therefore, need to be sure risk management and compliance data are “live”. This allows the business to make fast, informed decisions based on a complete understanding of the data. Taking all of the data fed into a single platform, and feeding it into detailed charts and graphs makes it accessible and user-friendly.
Risk management professionals work hard to standardise their methods but can improve their productivity by using organisation-wide technology to automate processes and make themselves (and their teams) more efficient. Every decision-maker in the organisation has to be aware of the potential risk of any decision and needs a deep understanding of the current risk posture. Providing that information need not rely on wasteful, manual processes that only present yesterday’s facts and figures. With Galvanize’s HighBond platform, organisations can ensure that risk is minimised in every area of operations. The modular nature of the platform provides the correct application of the right technology, in the right places.
If you have more questions or are interested in a demonstration, follow this link. The company’s current standing in The Forrester Wave™: Governance, Risk, and Compliance Platforms, Q1 2020 is well-deserved, we feel.
*Some of the companies featured on this article are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia