Data-Driven Decision Making to Drive Improved Business Outcomes

October 28, 2019 | New Workplace Leadership | 5 min read
Data-Driven Decision Making to Drive Improved Business Outcomes

On the surface, the data-driven decision making process may seem straight forward. In practice, however, it is difficult to do well. Businesses often struggle to both identify the correct data and to interpret it effectively. Quite often, though, the issue is about communication, rather than the actual data or the analytics.

“There is no time like 2019 to make deployment of analytics a true enterprise priority. This will involve not just the analytics team, but the broader organization as well. With historical barriers to overcome and a pattern of non-deployment to reverse, purposeful and meaningful action must be taken.” - 2019 IIA ANALYTICS PREDICTIONS AND PRIORITIES, Bill Franks, IIA Chief Analytics Officer, Tom Davenport, Ph.D., IIA Co-founder, Advisor, And Author Bob Morison, IIA Research Advisor

To be successful, several components of the data-driven decision-making process that must coalesce. Let’s not forget that it is fundamentally a continuous and iterative process. To ensure that our customers possess the required skills to achieve the desired outcomes, Skillsoft is expanding its existing Digital Transformation Collection. We are adding three new comprehensive Data Science curriculums: Data-driven Decision Making, Data and Analytics Literacy, and Data and Analytics at Work. All three curriculums focus on the steps and practical application of data and analytics necessary to succeed in moving teams and organizations forward. We designed these microlearning courses in partnership with the International Institute for Analytics (IIA), an independent research and advisory firm that works with organizations to build strong and competitive analytics programs.

The first of these three curriculums, Data-driven Decision Making, is now available. It is comprised of six courses featuring modern and engaging instructional design, practical application examples, and assessments. We also offer a plethora of additional assets to complement the courses for extension of the learning, including full-text and audiobooks. All of these learning resources are available through Skillsoft’s learning experience platform, Percipio.

Here’s a break-down of the six Data-driven Decision Making courses:

#1 Framing Opportunities for Effective Data-driven Decision Making

Framing opportunities for effective data-driven decision making involves documenting a specific occasion and the desired business outcome. This process helps to ensure that you focus your data analysis resources on the right analysis, at the right time, and with the right approach, to come to the right data-based decision.

In this course, you'll learn how to frame opportunities for effective data-driven decision making by narrowing down problems and testing assumptions. You'll also discover methods for identifying, testing, and validating assumptions. Finally, you'll learn how to develop an initial problem statement, and then refine and finalize that statement so that it's truly effective.

Here’s a short excerpt from Framing Opportunities for Effective Data-driven Decision Making.

#2 Working with Data for Effective Decision Making

Staying competitive in today’s marketplace requires organizations to continuously adapt and adjust, making solid decisions supported by data. Once you’ve identified a business problem, you need to identify, gather, and refine the data required to solve it, so that you can make informed business decisions.

#3 Guiding the Analysis for Effective Data-driven Decision Making

Data, by itself, tells you something, but not everything. After you’ve gathered and analyzed all the pieces of data to address your framed business problem, you need to perform careful data analysis to uncover the story. To do this, you must select the most appropriate method for analyzing your data.

Selecting an appropriate analysis method to best address the business opportunity and solve your identified problem is critical to effective data-driven decision making. In this course, you'll learn about analytics categories, business intelligence, selecting an appropriate analytical method, and evaluating and refining your analysis.

Watch this brief clip from Guiding the Analysis for Effective Data-driven Decision Making.

#4 Motivating Action with a Compelling Data-driven Story

Stories are more than simple entertainment; we use stories to understand ourselves, examine our world, and imagine the imperceptible. We also utilize narratives to convey complex information and frame important messages in a way that’s coherent, digestible and actionable. Business stories are no different. They serve as an effective method to present complex data in a way that makes sense and helps drive sound business decisions.

The right story narrative can persuade and enable organizational leadership to make smart, informed and intentional decisions about their business. In this course, you'll learn how to build a compelling, data-driven story that adequately answers the framed problem and motivates action among key stakeholders.

#5 Positioning Powerful Messages to Enable Action

The objective of data analysis is to provide actionable evidence to guide and support business decisions. The evidence must be concise and coherent for business decision makers. To provide a compelling presentation that motivates your audience to act, you need to create a powerful message that targets their needs and motivations.

Delivering a powerful message requires the message to be succinct, clear, and compelling. Even if a presentation looks great, has all the facts right, and is based on a lot of solid work, it isn’t enough. In this course, you'll learn about best practices to ensure that your message is effectively positioned for your target audience to enable action.

#6 Preparing Impactful Presentations that Drive Decision Makers to Action

Having used data analysis to develop a business story to tell, it's then time to develop the perfect presentation to communicate it to your audience effectively. The presentation needs to be as compelling and convincing as the story told by the data itself.

In this course, you'll learn how to identify and develop effective and suitable presentation materials to communicate your intended message and drive business action.

Skillsoft’s unique training supports the end to end steps and the practical application of data and analytics that business professionals need to succeed.

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Nancy Santacesaria is a Project & Program Manager, Leadership, Business Skills, and Digital Transformation Content Solutions at Skillsoft.