Whether you are on a development team for a game-changing business application, a partner in a growing business or managing alliances with strategic partners, you’re only as effective as your shared data.
Consider some of the collaborative projects you’ve worked on over the years. Think about when a group of people sit down at a table or at opposite ends of a telephone or internet connection. A “blank slate” of information can be an obstacle to initiating and sustaining a relationship. When people start introducing themselves and discussing who they are and where they’ve come from, relationships form based on measures of confidence, credibility, context, capability and candor.
That’s right, there are 5 “C words” which makes data the foundation of collaboration. You could argue these same factors make collaboration critical for data quality.
Are you convinced yet?
It's OK if you’re not because here are five compelling reasons why data and collaboration rely on each other.
The most effective teams are built on a foundation of trust. Teams who are committed to a common goal, (whether it’s the Stanley Cup or a closed revenue target) have the best chance of attaining it. If every collaborator has equal access to data, it builds confidence. When disagreements break out within a team, there’s no better peacemaker than verifiable data.
Fostering a data-driven culture builds trust in decisions that are made. Information transparency builds trust and enables groups of professionals to align their goals. Quality data is like a safety net. If your actions are based on data, even if you miss your target, you are working with tangible facts as opposed to just “going with a gut feel.” You’re more likely to be forgiven when you’re working with the best data available at the time.
A recent KPMG survey found that only about one-third of the CEO's who responded said they trusted their data and analytics systems. The CEO's that weren't confident in their data said they didn't have effective strategies or systems in place for data quality.
“Data success is really about defining a common language across the business to come to an understanding of how to measure different events and functions.”
KPMG Principal, Dan Fisher
When businesses work to acquire new customers, build alliances or to secure funding for key growth stages, being credible to these audiences is key. Data such as ROI, market capitalization, performance benchmarking data and other KPI’s are great tools to build credibility. If this data is locked away on a server or on a dusty thumb drive in a briefcase, it doesn’t provide value. When this data is shared though, it can convince employees, partners and investors to work together towards a common goal.
One of the most effective selling tools, whether it’s a car, a house or a cloud portal is context. Consider the commercials you watch on television, magazine ads or website success stories. When people see their peers as happy and successful having purchased your product or contracted your service, they are incented to buy it too.
Everyone's favorite radio station, regardless of their taste in music, is WIIFM. What's In It For Me. Sharing information with a group about your goals, the expected outcome of a project and its stakeholders provides the necessary context for people to understand:
- Is this project a good use of my time, expertise and talent?
- What do I stand to gain if I engage in this project? What happens if I pass?
- What are my critical success factors? What are the ramifications of failure?
Data provides concrete evidence of how a product or service should benefit a prospect, just as it did one of their peers. Sharing the data is what builds credibility and confidence. It supports and justifies the decisions we make in business.
You see a sign on a restaurant window which reads “The best coffee in town”. You like coffee but immediately you think, “Says who?”. You might even have the courage to challenge the restaurant on their claim to see for yourself. If you think their coffee is terrible, you might tear the sign down but either way, the sign did its job to get you in the door.
That's a simplified example but there are many examples where data demonstrates capability. Consider Gartner Magic Quadrant reports or other analyst product reviews. When a recognized industry expert goes public with their support of a company’s product, it is considered valuable, reliable data. If you are building a business case for a capital purchase or other strategic initiative, third-party verification helps to communicate capability and get buy-in.
During the recent US Presidential election, supporters of Donald Trump often said the reason they voted for him was because he “was a straight shooter”, and “told it like it is, unlike other politicians”. People respect honesty, frankness and factual discussion. You can’t have a frank discussion without data.
A book by David Coleman, entitled “42 Rules for Successful Collaboration” states “No single person can ever hope to have all the answers; only a group of individuals linked by purpose (or goal) in a culture of true professional candor can ever hope to truly collaborate. No tools or technology for collaboration will succeed if this key behavior is overlooked.”
Effective collaboration is built on a cornerstone of facts and data. Data is most useful when shared, and used by people and businesses to make better decisions. If you are looking for effective ways to share your data and collaborate with your customers, partners, sponsors and other stakeholders, contact us at Magentrix to see how a self-service community portal can help you attain these goals.