Data Driven Decision Making

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My first experience with the term Data Driven Decision Making was in the K12 education space. Sharnell Jackson, who helped the Chicago Public Schools improve online student learning, is a leading supporter.  As much as I tried, I couldn’t quite get the concept until she talked about taking student learning data and scrubbing it with outside demographic data, e.g, address, parental situation, income and the like.  For some reason I thought data driven decision making was more deeply based in education, such as learning styles, teaching styles, means and methods. Not demographics.

Data Driven Decision Making is also the rage in marketing.   Here’s some boilerplate from a leader:

Neustar is the first real-time, cloud-based information services and analytics provider enabling clients to effectively promote and protect their businesses. By using our unique, authoritative data combined with our clients’ information, we make data-driven decisions through actionable analytics. We uncover insights for our clients, thus making complex problem-solving easy for Marketers, IT and Operations professionals through our suite of complete, cloud-based workflow solutions.

Whether we are talking about education or marketing this dashboard approach is after-the-fact. It’s execute, automate and monitor, in that order. This is a billion dollar business and counting. It’s tactical, not strategic. It’s Ballmer, not Jobs.

Let’s take some of that billion and invest it in strategy. Start looking “Beyond the Dashboard.” I wrote the brand strategy for ZDNet in the late 90s “For doers not browsers.” It implied browsers were stepchildren of doers. I can see a time not too far off when the “dashboard” is stepchild of strategy. Peace.