Data-driven management processes need careful driving

Businesses are increasingly putting data and analytics at the center of their management practices. That can lead to better decisions and efficiency gains, but also cultural clashes.

Data and analytics are coming to influence virtually all areas of business operations. One of the newest frontiers in this trend is data-driven management, a strategy that includes using business intelligence and analytics tools to examine the way business processes are directed and make business decisions more transparent and objective.

However, that kind of approach to managing organizations isn't without its critics or potential drawbacks. In this edition of the Talking Data podcast, TechTarget editors examine some of the issues at play in data-driven decision making and management processes. The topic has become a hot one in high-profile mainstream media publications. For example, a recent article in The Wall Street Journal discussed how some startup companies are using data and associated analytics applications to keep their headcounts low and eliminate middle managers, enabling them to rein in costs and be more nimble in making decisions.

But articles in The Atlantic and Harper's Magazine cast a different light on data-driven business practices. They contended that data-driven management can conflict with collaborative work environments and even threaten to push workers into positions where they're at risk of being taken advantage of by their employers.

The latter two examples may be on the extreme side, but they provide cautionary tales for businesses that are considering implementing more data-informed management strategies. While there is an obvious payoff in making operations more accountable and objective, such strategies need to be implemented with care so as not to alienate employees -- or saddle an organization with bad decisions based on flawed data.

Listen to the podcast to learn more about how businesses can use BI and analytics to drive organizational management while avoiding some of the common pitfalls.

Ed Burns is site editor of SearchBusinessAnalytics. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter: @EdBurnsTT.

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