While Harvard Business Review’s latest article “Companies are Failing in Their Efforts to Become Data-Driven” focuses on investments in big data and artificial intelligence made by large corporations, we see the same issues at play in our work with public sector organizations. From education to housing to economic mobility, people and processes, not technology, overwhelmingly stand in the way of using data to make decisions. We believe that improvements to data systems are a key component to solid data work. But frequently the investment stops there. Organizations would get exponentially greater value from their technology investments if they put more attention and budget toward:

  • User Adoption of technology systems capitalizing on “training” that more accurately reflected the natural ways adults learn to use technology
  • Organizational and cultural alignment around data, utilizing conscious planning and communications to align staff, processes, and systems to support data-driven work
  • Data Governance to create clarity around data stewardship, data inventories, and key processes that support data work
  • And most essential to data-driven management, Continuous Improvement and Performance Management structures (two versions of the same thinking) which make explicit and routine the use of data as a starting point for programmatic improvement conversations and builds the capacity of staff to use data as a part of their practice

If you are not satisfied with your organization’s progress toward data-driven decision making, you are clearly in good company. But there are change management solutions that can turn a large dollar technology investment into vastly better results.