In my previous article I focused on “dataculture” and why its practice will help grow your data in a way that delivers information when and how it’s needed. In this article, I will share some insights on the energy source needed to support dataculture. The word POWER forms a useful acronym for my purposes as it not only reinforces the need for power in any evolving system, it also is a useful guideline for the elements needed to be an effective dataculturist.
|People need to be involved in the collecting, analysis and any action taken on company data. If your team is not trained to add data or if managers and supervisors don’t have the time to look at the information presented in a timely fashion, then reports and feedback cannot be fine-tuned as they evolve. That means the data will not be effective enough to facilitate any action at all. The biggest issue in aligning your team is training and follow through. Many companies spend significant funds on initial training but have not continued to fund ongoing monitoring or incentives to keep staff engaged. New technologies are making it easier to turn your staff into dataculturists so they become more aware of data as a tool.|
Organizing the data correctly requires effective data collection points and flexible database management structure. If the data is collected using manual end-of-day reports and summarized using a spreadsheet, it will be very difficult to look for trends. For example, it would be hard to see patterns in menu uptake or to be able to cross reference high-performing team members to sales results or promotions. Most databases that collect transaction files daily from POS systems are not designed for effective business analytics, so finding the right mix of technology is important to effective data organization.
Visualization of data is probably one of the most difficult areas to master by a budding dataculturist. Proper visualization techniques will give you many Windows into the most important operational areas of your organization. Seeing detail on how staff handles new promotions, customer requests or surveys from patrons could be as important to building effective data as a loyalty program that gathers specific customer detail. Analytical data on team members, day parts, locations and getting maps of problem areas in real time can give multiunit operators the same holistic view of their operation as an experienced single unit operator gets when he or she works the floor or the line every day. Knowing what to buy and the effect food prices have on margins and menu mix is pretty standard operations for most successful restaurateurs. But adding the ability to build pro-forma menus using current costs in real time can give an operator additional windows of opportunity.
To help design these windows, train the people and organize the data – Expertise is required. This can be in-house or contracted out, but it is important that experienced designers, developers and project managers be engaged during the process. It is an investment in the future and should be considered as carefully as the restaurant menu, floor layout and overall atmosphere. Ongoing objective review of whether the data collected, processed and preserved has value is equally critical. It is far better to operate with a small amount of accurate data than a large amount of confused or possibly inaccurate data. Going in the wrong direction with a lot of graphs, reports and analytics is still going in the wrong direction. Sometimes you only need a compass.
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