Data and Technology: Work Smarter, Not Harder
Tips for Using the Right Data Approach and Mindset
By Alben Ngo, Senior Director Business Intelligence, Graebel
There’s never been a more important time for you to gather, analyze and act on your company’s data in real time than right now. Nothing amplifies this reality more than a global crisis – a natural disaster, political or civil unrest, a pandemic, new visa and immigration directives and so on. Having immediate access to your data and business analytics is a must under normal conditions, but in a crisis, the need is heightened.
As we all adjust to this new mobility climate, properly and accurately tracking your global employees on the ground is essential – from assignees and transferees to commuters and business travelers. However, that’s proving to be more challenging than anticipated, especially for companies with large programs and diverse policy types. Having accurate, real-time data readily available helps companies ensure their employees’ safety and security and provides necessary relocation-related intelligence – such as the need for additional temporary housing, destination service provider (DSP) support or any care resulting from unexpected delays in a household goods shipment.
Since important business decisions must be made in a matter of minutes or days, instead of weeks or months, you soon realize why creating a comprehensive mobility data strategy and roadmap is an essential part of your Talent Management and HR function. Your plan should include a well-thought-out, customized technology solution or platform to help you make split-second business decisions. (Read more in our Crisis Planning Roadmap whitepaper).
So Why is Data So Important?
To understand the importance of data, consider these questions:
- If the business data that you regularly collect and use as part of your day-to-day operations could be gathered in a fraction of the time, and then analyzed quickly to help make informed business decisions, how much more effective would you be in your mobility role?
- If you could forecast outcomes using predictive analytics to solve challenges before they emerge, would you adjust your processes to account for the findings?
- If you could recommend a new way to solve a common problem that would save your company time and money, would you?
- If you find yourself at the center of another crisis situation and need to help an assignee quickly – wherever in the world they are – how important is it for you to have accurate data and intelligence that support your actions?
Once you recognize the value of actionable data, and you’re ready to take the next steps in your business intelligence and analytics journey, consider one more important question: How do you build a mobility and data strategy that opens a world of opportunity and makes an impact on your business and your assignees?
Simple Steps You Can Take to Build Better Data
Step 1: Know your Talent Agenda
The first and most important step toward working with data is to clearly define the intent or purpose of the information you want to convey. Your priorities could be, for example:
- Finding cost-saving opportunities
- Showcasing your operational performance
- Looking to improve existing policies
- Identifying opportunities to partner with your stakeholders
Once you define this purpose, you can design metrics and dashboards that satisfy your data and business intelligence needs.
Step 2: Design your Data Infrastructure
When we reference infrastructure, we don’t mean software or IT tools. We’re talking about:
- Gathering your data requirements
- Understanding what metrics are available (and perhaps creating workarounds or estimates for those that are not)
- Assessing the sources of your data
- Developing a data inventory and data glossary to ensure alignment of definitions
These steps position you to set clear guidelines and goals regarding data capturing and analysis.
Step 3: Create Dashboards that are Actionable
When you have your data in place, the next step is to create the visualizations, or customized business intelligence dashboards, your business can use for effective up-to-the-minute analysis and reporting. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t try to report and show too much on your dashboard since this can distort the key message(s) you want to convey
- Create unique dashboards for different initiatives and different stakeholders so the big picture is clear in every case
- The most effective dashboards are clear, concise and actionable. When you see them, you should immediately know if you’re reaching your goals or not and what you need to focus on to improve
Step 4: Analyze Your Data
The work does not stop after you create your dashboards. You’ll need to drill down further so you can understand and identify root causes or key levers. This will help you address and fix the problem or take advantage of an opportunity.
Trends and Talent: What Your Data Can Tell You
In the current climate, we find there are two special areas of intelligence that companies want to uncover through their data.
1. Know your trends
When analyzing your data and dashboards to identify trends, you can ask important questions like:
- Where do we have the most volume?
- What types of moves are in those locations?
- What’s the situation in those locations?
Answering these questions can help you identify ways to save costs, for example, combining services like housing or shipments, negotiating better deals with suppliers, or restructuring the benefits provided.
2. Know your talent
Your data also can tell important stories about your employees. You can unearth profile information categorized by:
- Family size
This detailed profile data can help you identify key attributes that could lead to more successful moves and help you understand what skills are needed in the future to position the business for success.
Identifying trends and talent through data analysis are just two examples of how a robust technology system can support your business initiatives.
Data Security: It Matters More Than Ever
Given the sensitivity and critical nature of data that is collected, stored and analyzed on a daily basis to run your business, it cannot be understated that proper data security controls should be put into place to protect it. With more and more data being stored in public and private clouds, on internal servers and a variety of other storage methods, appropriate investment is necessary to secure and protect it.
The threat of data being easily accessed by hackers, phishing scams, virus attacks and other means is constant. Protecting your company’s information and proprietary data and your mobile employees’ personal information is paramount to the success of your organization. At Graebel, we take data security seriously from our internal processes and practices to securely integrated APIs that can constantly evolve to meet diverse and changing needs—with data integrity, privacy and stewardship baked in.
Make Data a Vital Part of your Mobility Strategy
Forward-thinking companies are hiring data consultants to:
- Gain quicker access to relevant data to have it at their fingertips when they need it
- Use data to make key program decisions or showcase their program
- Identify cost saving opportunities or measure ROI
- Assess expat talent
- Identify opportunities to partner with stakeholders
- Align with overarching business objectives
Regardless of the intent, data is becoming a vital and essential commodity. You need access to the right data in the right place at the right time in the right format to position your function for success.
Read more about how the Graebel Mobility Pathbuilder® Strategy approach integrates seamlessly with our globalCONNECT Technology Services. Reach out to your Graebel representative to see how we can customize a mobility solution to help you solve your data, business intelligence and analytics needs today.