Meet three of our problem solvers in Columbus. They are prepared to help you tackle whatever business or technology challenge you face.
While helping find solutions to our clients’ toughest problems, we’ve learned a thing or two. In this series, we share insights from our Columbus team of seasoned solvers on overcoming today’s business, technology and people-related challenges.
Meet Your Problem Solver
Leigh Helsel | Partner and Practice Lead | Columbus
Our clients want to transform their businesses, but often they get stuck. For example, a client recently came to us for guidance in two specific areas: how to reduce the volumes of data that teams needed to load and transform for reporting and how to decide the path to a single, “best of breed” provider, ” to manage the data in one place.
Unfortunately, they still depended on spreadsheets and manual data movement, bogging the process down and making it impossible to determine what questions they needed their data to answer, let alone how to find new automation and predictive analytics tools that could provide the answers.
One way to get “unstuck” from a stalled transformation effort is to step back and look at the problem from other perspectives. From a strategic perspective, everyone needs to align first on the questions the data needs to answer. Both quantitative and qualitative data will be important to answer those questions, but the organization’s struggle to manage the data it already has suggests room for process improvement further upstream.
Improving processes would also decrease reliance on spreadsheets, but the organization would then need change management to help employees adapt to new tools and processes. The company also needed to consider its readiness to make the changes that the analytics revealed.
Taking the time to build a roadmap to achieving data goals — in the case of this client, a 24-month roadmap — helps the organization visualize these other areas and allocate resources to them. The project can then start moving again, the team will feel refocused and energized, and the problems solved along the way will remove the roadblocks to transformation.
Meet Your Problem Solver
Art Smith | Data & Analytics Lead for Columbus | Data & Analytics
Businesses of all sizes need solutions to strategic issues, but often they don’t know how to unlock the value of data to solve them. That’s not surprising, given the metamorphosis the data industry has experienced over the past 10 years. The amount of data has grown exponentially while organizations have struggled to keep their technology current to draw strategic insights from it.
Meanwhile, resources and skillsets are based on older technologies and practices. Add the always-evolving need for cybersecurity, and it’s easy to see why many organizations don’t know where to start.
Before investing in new technology, start by understanding your business context. What do you do? What sets you apart from your competitors? Who are your customers? What do they need? How do you need to change to succeed?
The answers to these questions can reveal the most valuable information to draw from your data first. Then you can begin with the end in mind and select a modular solution that can grow as you work toward that goal. This approach allows you to develop a high-performing analytics capability without paying for more technology than you need.
One valuable tool today is AI. For example, a client with incredible account retention identified a two percent improvement as the key to growing from a $50M company to a $70M company. An AI machine learning model identified clients at risk of leaving in the next 60 days. The solution allowed the client to exceed their retention target and ultimately realize their business’s full value.
Meet Your Problem Solver
Heather Effron | People & Change Senior Manager, Columbus | People & Change
For any initiative to succeed, organizations need to balance project management (changes in technology), change management (changes people face), and sponsorship (change vision and setting direction). I often find that clients focus on delivering a strong technical solution with a robust project management discipline without dedicating resources to understanding how those changes will affect people. I also see sponsors who engage during a project launch and then disengage completely throughout the project lifecycle, requiring more time and effort to reach full adoption of the change.
Engaging change leaders early in the initiative will increase the likeliness of project success by aligning the people side of change with the technical side of change. Change leaders will craft a change strategy that will help people understand what is changing, why it is changing, and what they need to do to adopt new ways of working. To drive faster adoption of the solution, communicate early and often with all stakeholders and include opportunities for two-way dialogue to seek feedback and address potential resistance.
Another key role of the change leader is to ensure that sponsors are active and visible champions throughout the entire project timeline. I often see sponsors who engage during a project launch and then disengage completely.
Active and visible sponsors give the project credibility and reinforce to the front line why the change is necessary by linking changes back to the project vision and benefits. Alignment between your project management, change management, and sponsorship teams will speed solution adoption and drive enthusiasm for the initiative.