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How to use data to improve organisational performance

When gold was discovered in California 150 years ago, nearly 300,000 hopeful prospectors rushed to the Pacific West. They lined the riverbanks, armed only with metal pans, patiently sifting for days and weeks through gravel and sand, hoping to uncover that nugget of gold that would make their fortune.

Today’s organisational leaders have the opposite problem. They are flooded with information and data – nuggets of gold that can help them be more efficient, more effective, more successful. The challenge is identifying which bits of data to ignore and which to focus on.

It can be overwhelming, sifting through reams of information, trying to find the insights that have real value across the organisation, and then harnessing them to make improvements. Those nuggets don’t always look like gold dust at first glance, and it’s easy to get sidetracked, following a seam that looks promising but in the end leads to a dead end.

In businesses, leaders can drill down into sales performance data or forensically analyse end of year results. In hospitals and care sector, it may be waiting times, numbers of beds or satisfaction ratings that preoccupy leaders. Schools are also overwhelmed with data – performance and progress data can be sliced and diced to analyse achievement in any number of ways.

Another problem with data is that it shows what is happening now – or even worse what has already happened. What data doesn’t necessarily show is why things happen. For this you need human intervention and insight applied to the data. Some fields use the term self-evaluation to describe this process; others call it diagnostic feedback.

Regardless of what it’s called, we think this is where iAbacus® can help organisations. The iAbacus process extracts the intelligence, the intuitive understanding, that users have about their areas and underpins it with data.

It does this by guiding users – whether the senior leadership or management team, specific departments or individuals looking at their own performance – through a process that starts with their own judgements, and then tests this against organisational data or external criteria.

It then helps to identify those factors that are helping and hindering performance, which leads to an action plan for improvement.

The beauty the iAbacus® model is that it motivates and empowers, because it is ‘done with’ rather than ‘done to’.

The best analytical tools help leaders identify areas of concern or pockets of excellence – then provide a quick way to dig down into the detail.

It’s the difference between standing at the river sieving the pebbles searching for tiny pieces that glimmer that might be gold, versus being able to x-ray the entire goldmine at once with pinpoint accuracy and certainty.

This is critical to you as a leader because it enables you to quickly identify area of excellence that need to be replicated.

Who in your organisation is excelling, and why? Can they pass this onto colleagues? Which departments in your school? Which stores in your chain?

The operational intelligence you need to succeed is already inside your organisation. You own the goldmine. You just need the right tools to extract the gold.

If you are interested in seeing how iAbacus can help your organisation to be more effective, why not start your 30 day free trial today.


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