“When used right, data and technology become accelerators of momentum, not a creator of it…for the simple reason that you cannot make good use of data and technology until you know which data and technologies are relevant.” – Jim Collins, Good to Great

The final good-to-great factor we are discussing from Jim Collins’Good to Great is data and technology accelerators.  It is important to note that data and technology accelerators is presented last because:

  • No data or technology can instill unwavering discipline to confront the brutal facts of your current reality. (part 1)
  • No data or technology can supplant the discipline for developing a deep understanding of your business. (part 2)
  • No data or technology can create an entire culture of discipline. (part 3)

We have seen many examples of data and technology projects over-promising and under-delivering:

  • A new technology is purchased and then IT searches for a business use for it.
  • IT takes a reasonable project scope and vastly over-architects a solution for two and a half years, delivering nothing to the business.
  • Business units, tired of waiting for their request to be addressed by IT, create shadow IT teams that create needed, but complex applications in Access and Excel.
  • Software companies push a product sale without the client company having the necessary team assembled or enough requirements defined, resulting in time and money wasted on a solution that is minimally implemented — or never implemented.
  • A single company purchases four different business intelligence tools.

On the positive side, data and technology can and do add incredible value when you “think differently about the role of data and technology. Good-to-great companies never use data and technology as the primary means of igniting a transformation. Yet, they are pioneers in the application of carefully selected data and technologies.  So, the question is not, ‘What is the role of data and technology?’  Rather, the real question is, ‘How do good-to-great organizations think differently about data and technology?’” – Jim Collins, Good to Great.

We have created numerous best practices, models, and tools over our 13 years that transform data and technology into an accelerator of momentum. Some of these include:

  • The Business Focus™ – gain clarity and alignment for your data and technology by focusing on how your business creates value
  • The Strategic Navigator™ – plan strategically, build incrementally to chart and navigate a course that delivers results
  • The Execution Disciplines™ – bridge the gap that often exists between the business and IT, and balance the needs and demands of the project across the leadership, business, data and technology disciplines
  • The Visual Advantage™ – graphical models that visualize the complexity of your requirements, data, designs, architectures, and more
  • The Data Transformer™ – change your data from a constraint to a managed, strategic asset. This eliminates fragmented data silos, inconsistent versions of the “truth”, poor data quality, duplicated efforts, and wasted time.
  • The Execution Accelerators™ – use proven accelerators to go farther, faster:
    1. The iBProgram™, our visual, iterative, multi-disciplinary process for creating custom applications that turn your complex data into decision-quality information, and
    2. The iBLeague™, our unique system of scorecards, community, and coaching designed for business owners, managers, and producers of retail services businesses

I have heard many people say “this is exactly what we need to do, but we don’t know where to start”, or “we tried that before and it didn’t work”.  Trust me, this approach has worked many times, and it can work for you.  If you are willing to think differently about data and technology and make good use of relevant technologies, your value creation, progress, and growth can be greatly accelerated.

Question: Does your organization focus data and technology on cost reduction? Or does your company think differently, focusing data and technology on value creation, strategic business goals, and growth initiatives?