It was interesting to hear the conversations at ASAE 2018 around the 6 competency areas of our Data Maturity Assessment: Strategy, Culture, Resources, Insights, Actions, and Impact. It generated a lot of discussion around “data” and “insights.”
Let’s be clear – just because you have data does not mean you have insights. Data represent the numbers and comments that you collect. Insights represent the data as it is synthesized and turned into a story. Insights should be actionable themes or nuggets of information that help your organization act on the information. Without insights, you can become paralyzed by the data. Even if your organization is acting on the information, there are a variety of outcomes.
We heard from some associations that feel like they lack prioritization and therefore they end up acting on everything, not doing any one thing particularly well. Is it that the types of questions you are asking do not result in any level of prioritization? Or are there too many “priorities”?
Other associations focused and invested a significant amount of resource, yet the needle never moved – the key outcome metric (engagement, loyalty, retention, etc.) never changed. How did you arrive at that area of focus? Was it really where your members wanted you to focus, or was it a red herring in the data? Was the level of change you effected insufficient to make an impact in the members’ minds? Did you invest the resource but not effectively communicate the changes to your members? For any number of reasons, not “moving the needle” leaves a bad taste in your mouth and may ultimately impact your ability to secure resources in the future.
The conversations at ASAE 2018 represent the first of many that we’ll be having with all of you around Data Maturity. It is not something that will be solved overnight and you can’t tackle all six competency areas at once. Nevertheless, as excited as you’ve been to invest in data in your organization, we hope you will be just as passionate to get the most out of it as you possibly can.