Metrics that Matter #6: Progress over Perfection
As the CEO of Clarent, I often speak with senior living leaders who are excited about using data and achieving digital transformation but worry that they are not ready to get started.
While every organization is unique, there are 3 main concerns that come up again and again:
1. "We don't trust our data input. If we start using data, we'll have garbage in, garbage out."
2. "We're planning to change our payroll / CRM / general ledger. Should we wait until that change is complete?"
3. "We tried implementing a business intelligence solution before and the data was never accurate. We have scar tissue and it's daunting to consider another data project."
If this sounds like you, here's my advice: pick progress over perfection.
Adopting a data solution and achieving digital transformation is an iterative process: you need to start with the most important data sources (and the most important KPIs derived from those systems), ensure you're extracting the data and modeling it correctly, and coach your team to adopt the data as part of their regular work. This doesn't happen overnight (particularly not when you're using multiple systems that don't talk to each other!), and you need to work step by step to achieve progress towards the end goal: having a single source of truth for all your data. If you never get started, you never make progress (and the data challenge can get worse as you build up historically incorrect data and add more systems).
Here is how we make progress to fix garbage data, integrate new systems, and ensure data accuracy:
1. We run a structured "KPI alignment" process. This means we start out by sitting down and ensuring that everyone agrees how to define each KPI. For example, do you measure move-ins as "financial possession" or "physical possession"?
2. Next, we pick a few KPIs from each system and test for data quality by comparing an old report (that you trust) vs. a report from Clarent. This reveals where the "garbage in" is coming from and provides guidance on how to fix it. Is it a data entry issue? Are some users thinking of the KPI differently from others? Is there missing data or historical data that needs to be fixed? Sometimes you need to retrain the team on how to enter data or you may just need to clean up old data.
3. The last step is to ensure adoption of the new data solution by making it a part of everyone's regular work schedule and the new source of truth for your team. Rather than adding new meetings (or expecting everyone to start logging into a new dashboard) we suggest taking 5 minutes at all your existing recurring meetings (like a weekly RDO / ED call) and reviewing data together. This gets everyone into the habit of looking at data together. It's also important for team members who were not part of implementation to be looped into the adoption so that everyone is looking at the same single source of truth!
These 3 steps are a roadmap to achieving digital transformation and avoiding getting stuck on the 3 concerns listed above. It's an iterative process and you need the right partner to help you to success -- we'd love to be that partner!
To succeed in digital transformation, pick progress over perfection.