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Can you be highly efficient and still be ineffective?

As Peter Drucker put it… “Efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right things.”

I would therefore suggest that, doing the right things right, is critical to our success.

So how do you know if your team are highly efficient, or woefully ineffective?

This is one of the factors in delivering results to your bottom line, and a necessity to understand as a business.

The difference between efficiency and effectiveness may seem subtle perhaps, but what happens if you do the right things in the wrong way?

Picture this for a moment: you have a highly tuned race car that is set to perform better than any other team on the track. You are certain of winning the race and taking the glory. Until your team makes the highly ineffective mistake of sending it the wrong way around the circuit.

You are “doing the right thing” – sending out a race-winning car; but you’re never going to win the race if you’re going the wrong way and, worst case scenario, you could cause enormous damage on the way.

Strategy v Tactics

When you go through the process of setting your business strategy, you will clearly define your organisational direction and ensure that you consider broader requirements around legislative compliance and industry standards by “doing right things”. After all, there’s no strategic benefit to being hit by avoidable fines or suffering the associated reputational damage.

Once the strategy is set, your managers become the tactical team. Their task is to implement the strategy in the most efficient way for the business; doing this in a prudent and profitable way. i.e. “doing things right”!

In essence, you have effectively set the ship on its course and now need the crew to efficiently take it there – but you need to be able to measure what ‘effective’ really looks like. And that all comes down to data.

What has this got to do with your business’ data?

The way in which data is processed and managed can have a very real impact on whether your business is doing the right things in the right or wrong way? Of course, the preferred option is – doing the right things in the right way.

At the most basic level, a business needs to understand what data it actually needs. You see, if you can’t collect the right data, then providing meaningful data and insights later down the line becomes much more difficult.

So, if data goes in at the start in one format, but is needed in a different format at a later point, you have an inefficient process, and insufficient capability to extract and use it.

This invariably means that the data will need to be amended somewhere along the line, and that is an avoidable duplication of effort. Replicate that across your business, and what looks like a minor inconvenience soon becomes a significant drain on resources.

What’s more, you end up with data that is, at best, inconsistent and unreliable, and at worst, unusable. This can lead to very bad decisions being made with high levels of certainty. Flawed data may cause you to do the “wrong things wrong” which is both inefficient and ineffective and will lead to extremely poor business outcomes.

How DQ Global can help?

DQ Global helps by enabling you to identify the defects in your data. This in turn helps you to pinpoint the defective processes and establish the root causes.

With a clear overview of the defects within your processes, you can re-evaluate your strategy for the migration, integration and rules logic of your data management. Having taken the appropriate corrective actions you then have a reliable pool of data on which you can make well-informed strategic decisions.

With those building blocks in place you have not just an effective or efficient operation. You have a business that is effective and efficient and able to target the right people, at the right time with the right message.

Written by

Martin is CEO and founder of DQ Global, a Data Quality Software company based in the UK. With an engineering background, Martin previously ran a CRM Software business. He has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience over the years and has established himself as a Data Quality Improvement Evangelist and an industry expert.
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