Why IT leaders should embrace a data-driven culture

Data helps IT leaders make decisions that support stronger teams and drive business growth. Consider these three benefits
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We live in a data-centric world, where data drives most business decisions. While maintaining a steady influx of new insights is critical to continued growth, knowing how to use the data already available makes for more timely and effective decision-making.

IT teams face an ever-increasing demand for their time, compounded by ongoing stress from hiring shortages and burnout across the industry. For IT managers, preventing team burnout while delivering high-value projects to their team and the organization must be top-of-mind.

Data-driven decision-making enables IT managers to support their increasingly strained teams by informing insightful change, such as alleviating tedious manual tasks and providing greater opportunities to focus on high-value projects. Here’s how:

Data identifies where IT teams need innovation the most

As the business landscape evolves, organizations’ reliance on innovation to better manage all forms of business operations must also evolve.

[ Also read 5 ways data can make you a better leader. ]

For instance, predictive analytics helps forward-thinking businesses demonstrate potential outcomes for a decision, enabling IT managers to make informed decisions on improving workflows. Predictive analytics can also help indicate which tasks take the most time for the team to complete and display areas that slow the team down. With this knowledge, teams can identify where to most effectively implement hyper-automation practices to reduce manual tasks and bottlenecks within workflows.

Gartner describes hyper-automation as “a business-driven, disciplined approach that organizations use to rapidly identify, vet, and automate as many business and IT processes as possible.” Implementing hyper-automation practices in the IT workflow enables organizations to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to set up smart, adaptable automation that intelligently orchestrates business processes across systems and departments, effectively innovating organizations’ existing technology stacks.

To successfully enable hyper-automation, IT leaders must look to data to understand which areas of their daily operations are most receptive to these advancements. When done correctly, hyper-automation greatly prevents operational bottlenecks and frees team members from having to manage tedious, manual tasks. This enables them to focus more effectively on bringing value to the organization.

Data demonstrates the effectiveness of IT transformation

Data tells the story of what works – and perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t work – for your team. It provides a clear and unbiased picture of how new transformations are netting out and where opportunities lie to increase efficiency and value. Utilizing the right metrics reveals which innovations are most effective for the team, letting IT managers know how transformations are running.

[ Related read Data scientist: A day in the life ]

Focusing on these results helps organizations streamline business processes and leads to higher team productivity. It also puts IT leaders on the path to sunset legacy solutions that require large budgets or lots of manual work to keep them functional. These changes impact all business areas, allowing employees anywhere and everywhere – not just those in IT – to be more innovative and effective.

Data integration helps IT teams track tools

Organizations often use hundreds of applications. It can be hard for a single department to keep track of these tools and their required updates. That’s why it’s critical for the IT department to be closely integrated with teams throughout the business and have insight into each department’s data usage and goals. IT teams can then provide recommendations on the best tools, which might be repetitive, and more.

A data-driven strategy lets managers stay agile and confident in their next steps and provides a means to back decisions with clear evidence.

Non-tech teams should work with IT from the project’s inception to collaborate on business solutions and operations. With greater visibility and collaboration, IT teams can identify patterns and derive insights from the data to make recommendations on optimizing efficiency.

Data reveals insights on which tools aren’t being used or could be utilized more effectively. For example, data can illustrate which departments rely on legacy technology solutions that no longer meet current business needs. This information enables IT teams to deliver support across the organization with the necessary insights.

Embracing a data-driven culture reduces the decision-making burden

As business leaders focus on meeting the needs of today’s evolving workforce and customers’ desires, operating with a data-driven strategy lets managers stay agile and confident in their next steps. Allowing data to drive decisions also provides a means to back those decisions with clear evidence.

For instance, IT leaders can present their business counterparts with a specific plan and vision. By developing a data-driven plan that outlines steps to deliver significant transformation quarter after quarter, IT leaders make innovation more digestible for non-IT leaders, too. This insight helps organizations make informed decisions while looking ahead to prepare for the business challenges of tomorrow.

Organizations should strive to integrate data-driven insights into every aspect of their daily operations. Failing to do so often results in missed business opportunities.

Managers and leaders capable of transforming data into answers and insights to solve business problems and drive meaningful change across the organization are in great demand. And IT managers who operate with data in mind bring value to the business and their IT teams. It’s a win-win for everyone.

[ Leading CIOs are reimagining the nature of work while strengthening organizational resilience. Learn 4 key digital transformation leadership priorities in a new report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. ]

Neil Kole is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Boomi, responsible for overseeing the company’s critical IT infrastructure and customer service platforms. He brings more than 20 years of expertise across a variety of IT functions, including support of engineering, security initiatives, network/IT infrastructure, and applications.