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Surfacing the right data: Operational Intelligence

Georgia, Head of Operations, with a book

Effective data analysis can help businesses in many areas. But how do you get to a position where you can analyse the data?

Analysing the right data can enable a business to target improvements such as increased utilisation, streamlined processes, and increased profit. Needless to say, operational intelligence first requires the data to be surfaced. To uncover the information you’re digging for, real-time data generation can be integrated into operational systems or dashboards, which enable the team to analyse and make better-informed decisions.

The aim of the game

There may not be any urgent performance issues within your organisation, but if you don’t have a consistent picture of where you stand, and what is possible for your team to achieve, setting intelligent targets is unrealistic, and planning the route to get to those targets is impossible.

A key benefit of operational intelligence if managed correctly, is that the data gathered is monitored in (real) time, depending on the business needs. This allows for any issues to be promptly addressed as they arise. While there are various tools and platforms available to combine data streaming, monitoring, and analytics, the size and needs of your business will determine what is necessary.

Brightec recognised the need for an operational process to aid in their desire for sustainable growth, which is where I came in! Last year, I began working with the team as Head of Operations to review the ways of working and existing tools in order to define and implement a process that would aid in achieving operational intelligence. The existing tools and reports already captured many key data points, so the initial focus was to bring these together, analyse what was missing, and then begin to surface that missing data to obtain a clear view of where things stood. Alongside this, we created an agency model around the existing team and plotted in the key targets that would produce a healthy profit and room for growth.

These two work streams each created an output that allowed for direct comparison to see which KPIs needed to be the first focus. Throughout this process we were able to begin building in our own operational intelligence. At Brightec this is achieved through using well-managed existing tools, and customised automated reporting to bring the required information into a Dashboard, which can be monitored and reviewed.

The collection of tools currently utilised to achieve this are: Harvest for budget tracking, Forecast for scheduling and capacity management, Jira for project delivery, and Google Sheets for the automated reporting. Our operational metrics and KPIs are extracted from the data analysed and presented through data visualisation as part of a fortnightly Operations Report to a wider management team. If managed correctly, the increased visibility and insight into the business operations should lead to a more proactive approach throughout the organisation, with predictive forecasting, rather than relying on a reactive process.

It has been a great journey to be part of and I look forward to seeing where it goes.

If you made it this far (or skimmed to the end), the key takeaway is that ‘data is a great storyteller, create a space to listen’!

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