Although it was once common for companies to rely on intuition when making important decisions, many have since shifted to a more data-centric approach. A report by McKinsey & Company found that data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result. It’s no wonder companies are turning to data to make faster, more informed decisions.
It’s important for all teams to be data-driven, including those that work remotely. Although it may take some time for remote teams to adjust to a data mindset, the payoff is massive. Here’s how companies can enable remote teams to take a more data-centric approach.
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Develop measurable goals
An extensive collection of data is meaningless unless companies know what they’re using it to measure or how it’s affecting company decisions overall. Before diving deep into data, it’s crucial to determine company-wide goals first as well as those specific to each department.
Companies should create a list of clearly defined goals, such as a revenue target, a growth metric, etc. Communicate these goals with the remote team to help ensure the entire company is on the same page. Consider how these goals align with the data being collected and how they may help shift priorities among the team.
Shifting to a data-centric approach requires changes to the structure and organization of a remote team. The main idea behind a data-driven team is that all team members are accountable for the analytics related to their specific department. They must develop insight and actionable plans based on their data. For example, a digital marketer should be gathering data and analyzing metrics from their campaign performance to determine whether or not it’s working.
Update the responsibilities of each team member. Communication is key for remote teams to work effectively, so it’s imperative to spell out the responsibilities for each team member clearly. Schedule a call to discuss analytics tools and how this will impact each member of the team. This way, everyone knows what’s expected of them.
Moving to a data-centric approach does not mean making the remote team work certain hours. In fact, the opposite it true. Each team member is instead responsible for pushing the team towards a numeric goal. Remote team members usually have flexible work hours, which is fine, as long as they are accountable for their role in meeting goals.
Taking on a data-centric approach will lead to increased insights. Whether someone discovers a way to get more leads or finds a defect in the analytics system, find ways to recognize or reward team members.
For a remote team, company leaders can acknowledge contributions by sending out a special email or providing a spot bonus. Managers will have an easier time figuring out key players on the team, because the numbers will show it. Team leaders can then explain to the entire remote team how and why an employee stood out to encourage this type of work. While it may be easier to recognize a team member in-office, it’s vital to do so in a remote setting as well.
Collaboration is a core value in data-driven companies. It’s critical to build a remote work culture that supports the ongoing sharing of information. Therefore, companies should make all appropriate data accessible to everyone on the team. Sharing data freely allows teams to rely on that data to make important decisions and increases performance at the individual and team level.
For example, many business decisions take place on Slack’s communication tool. Using Statsbot, an analytical bot that integrates with Slack, remote teams can work together and access data whenever they need it. Between these two tools, remote teams can find the information they need easily, and all team members can participate in the decision-making process. Remember to share data among the team safely. pCloud, for example, offers encrypted cloud storage for all files. Team members can also send secure messages using off-the-Record Messaging (OTR), a cryptographic protocol for instant messages.
It might be helpful to hold virtual meetings consistently where remote team members can share and discuss analytical findings, hypotheses they’ve tested, and insights. Sharing data and experiences can help other members on the team leverage valuable information in their own work.
Invest in the right tools and training
No matter how accessible the data is, it won’t be beneficial if team members don’t use it to make decisions or don’t understand it. Start by investing in the appropriate data tools. Companies should choose tools based on their goals and how easy it is for remote teams to use them to access, share, and analyze data. Consider data systems that integrate with existing business tools, such as Excel or Oracle.
Once the right data tools are in place, it’s important to invest in training. Make sure team members understand the basics of data analysis, transformation, and visualization. They must understand the capabilities of each tool. Provide training for remote teams, such as online courses or video-based tutorials, so they have a full understanding of how to use them.
Act on data
Companies that turn data into actionable insights, known as insights-driven businesses, are achieving 30% growth every year. Although it sounds intuitive to act on data, many teams often collect and analyze data without ever using it to make important decisions. To truly create a data-driven remote team, companies must develop a culture where team members act on data collected. If a particular strategy isn’t working, team members should discontinue based on their data and focus their efforts on areas that are getting better results. Not using data to make informed decisions can be detrimental.
Shifting a remote team to a data-centric approach will not happen overnight. Remember to start small and be flexible as the team is likely to experience a learning curve with this change. Companies with remote teams that focus on collecting, analyzing, and using data to make important decisions will have many competitive advantages.
David Lloyd, CEO of The Intern Group
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