Value of data technology impressed on directors

Flock Consulting chief executive Jon Foote, of Dunedin. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Flock Consulting chief executive Jon Foote, of Dunedin. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Directors are being urged to consider how modern data technology could improve their reporting to help make timely decisions.

On Thursday, Auckland-based Deloitte associate director Maggie Zheng and Dunedin-based Flock Consulting chief executive Jon Foote will be talking to Institute of Directors’ Otago Southland branch about how modern data technology is changing the way organisations manage and report on their data.

"It is transformational," Ms Zheng said.

Mr Foote specialises in business intelligence, while Ms Zheng works in Deloitte’s data science and data analytics team.

Deloitte associate director Maggie Zheng. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Deloitte associate director Maggie Zheng. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Traditional ways of reporting data could takes weeks to prepare before it was given to an organisation’s directors to discuss, Ms Zheng said.

That risked the data being out of date and hard for the organisation to make a decision in a timely way.

Most boards had a use for data, but they probably did not know it yet, she said.

Ms Zheng believed their might be some boards who were hesitant about data and what could mean for them.

For some, it could require a culture shift, she said.

"They have to trust and be comfortable with it."

There was a lot to be gained from investing in data reporting to make sure organisations were a step ahead, Ms Zheng said.

Mr Foote believed the key for boards were to try to be "insights-driven" organisations, which would make data and its collection a core focus.

The way they could do that would be by picking specific key performance indicators around what they wanted to measure.

"It’s not about having pretty pictures, it’s about picking what you want to measure and actioning from that," Mr Foote said.

Data was "probably not as relevant" in organisations 10 or 15 years ago because there was a lot less information around.

"The world of information has just exploded and it had completely changed the game," Mr Foote said.

Covid-19, particularly the Government’s daily updates, threw data into the spotlight and how it could be used to make quick decisions, Mr Foote said.

Since the virus first hit, there had been "huge adoption" of data reporting because of the need for "rapid" decision-making.

"People are understanding the need for those strategic decisions to be made on data rather than gut feelings," he said.



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