Shiny object syndrome: process is the power that drives business to being data-ready

All this week Daniel Henriksen, technology and operations director, programmatic at OmnicomMediaGroup in Asia Pacific, is helping marketers diagnose whether they have shiny object syndrome, when it comes to data and analytics. The four aspects brands need to consider are reality, organization, people and process.

Process

If we believe that people is the most important piece of the puzzle to solve for successfully changing an organization to become more data-driven and integrate data and analytics into its processes most effectively, process is a close runner-up. Established processes makes the organization operate and function, and allows the business to deliver effectively on its objectives and goals. Process or set of processes in place gives your team the power to operate on their own, and should collectively result in fewer questions, concerns or doubts about what each unit is accountable and responsible for.

Processes can be good and bad, and too many inefficient processes can have deteriorating effect on an organization. As mentioned in the previous sections around organizations and history of change, we can be quite habitual as human beings. Processes and structures can be hard to change instantaneously, as people can be too comfortable and secure with status quo.

There are two areas which are important to assess when it comes to existing processes and structures:

Integrated vs Silo

Being either an integrated or very siloed organization will have tremendous impact on the ability to make effective change, and integrate data and analytics into core business functions. If the organization operates in silos, it will become very complex to move the entire organizations at once, and the risk of becoming more disconnected is very real. Being more integrated across all core functions will make it more likely that everyone is aligned on the goal and objective with such project, and that all leaders are able to lead their teams through this change collectively. If a top-down decision is made to tell all functions of the business to individually figure out how to integrate data and analytics into their respective processes for efficiency and increased profitability, they would all do it their own way, not utilizing synergies to drive the organization forward overall.

Practice vs Policy

Practice and policy is what provides governance to an organization, systematizing and formalizing organizational behaviors to operate and function. This can cover everything from establishing the primary corporate language for internal/external communication, all the way to whether employees are allowed by IT to use Slack for internal communication and collaboration.

Establishing the right set of practices and policies are very important when starting new projects, as limitations, restrictions or barriers might prevent the organization from successfully implementing change or new processes. Big organizations are known for their massive employee handbooks and tedious processes when it comes to approving expenses and investments, but realizing how fast the world evolves when it comes to data and technology, there might be a need for some more agility to move more quickly. Digital transformation is not simple, and changing a business to become more data-driven in a fast yet sustainable way will require some compromises when it comes to established practices and policies.

Then what?

It’s always tempting to find shortcuts and skip stages or steps to reach the end goal faster, but being blinded by the “shiny” object can be associated with unnecessary risks, and the aftermath might not be very desirable in the long-term.

To become ready as an organization to integrate data, analytics and especially artificial intelligence, it is important to become aware of the organization’s reality, structure, people and existing processes before going through complex change management processes like these.

There isn’t an exact recipe for success, but some of these considerations might improve the likelihood of reaching the desired end goal.

The Nokia 3310 might not be as “shiny” as the iPhone 7, but it was still important to teach us how to use and operate a mobile phone, making us well-equipped and prepared for touch screens, voice control and fingerprint security.

Daniel Henriksen is technology and operations director, programmatic at OmnicomMediaGroup.

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