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A Word to Executives about Data Management: How to Put the Lion Back Into the Cage

 

This is a message to business managers, government executives, leaders in academia, and directors of NGO’s regarding data management for actionable intelligence. Data, your most valuable asset, is seriously underutilized and mismanaged. In fact, it is out of control.  It’s all over the place. Like a lion that has escaped from its cage, much of your data is on the loose and without restraint.  Your data, the priceless information that is being generated in your ecosystem by your team, stakeholders, and clients is flowing into cyberspace and landing in a variety of silos of which you have neither knowledge nor control.  Collecting and managing data is imperative because of its potential to help you run your operations with better results and efficiencies while reducing costs.  Managers who do not incorporate measures to take control of their data will find themselves left behind, out of business, or without a job.  

 

The good news is that it is possible to take control of your data and make it work for you. It is possible to put the lion back in the cage.  

 

There are three main components that your organization should incorporate in order to take control of your data. They are:​

  • Comprehensive, and secured, real-time data collection and sharing

  • ​Intelligent and actionable data analytics: Descriptive Analytics. Predictive Analytics, Prescriptive analytics

  • ​Mobile and remote communications technology

 

Comprehensive, and secured, real-time data collection and sharing 

 

Your data is being generated by a myriad of participants and stakeholders including employees, department managers, customers, partners, suppliers, and others who make up your particular operational ecosystem.  All of these “data generators” must be identified in order to get the complete picture of the landscape within which you are functioning.  In the healthcare industry, for example, a state should have visibility to data which is being generated by supporting government agencies, area hospitals, managed care organizations (MCO’s), health insurance companies, and its citizens.

 

In order to attain comprehensive collection and sharing of real time data it will be necessary to integrate each of the members of the ecosystem into a secure and interoperable IT software platform or platform as a service (PAAS).   It may require old fashioned public relations and incentives to show your stakeholders the benefits of being connected to the shared platform, but once integrated, they too will recognize the value of having access to additional data by being connected to the shared platform.  Once this integration is completed, you will have continuous access to all of the data that is pertinent to your operations.

 

 

Intelligent and actionable data analytics – descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive

 

Raw data is of little value if it is not organized, analyzed and interpreted with effective data analytics.  Incorporating and using data analytics can reveal previously unknown information about the day to day activities in your operational ecosystem.  Data analytics is made up of three parts: descriptive, predictive and prescriptive.  Descriptive analytics tells us what is happening, predictive analytics tells us what is likely to happen in the future, and prescriptive analytics tells us what actions to take.  Again, using the example of the healthcare industry, analytics can allow the healthcare professional to know, for example, that 6% of the population is responsible for 80% of the healthcare costs. 

 

Healthcare data analytics can also reveal that those costs predominantly come from cases of diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic heart disease, and kidney failure.  Analytics can also demonstrate what percentage of patients are being misdiagnosed or enduring unneeded surgeries.  Descriptive analytics allows the manager to identify these high cost patients. With predictive analytics, the healthcare manager can identify those individuals that are likely to acquire a particular illness.  Prescriptive analytics can provide solutions that allow the healthcare professional to intercede to prevent the episode or take appropriate action and behavioral changes sooner.

 

It is important to note that the right questions and variables need to be fed to your analytic tools. This will insure that the resulting analysis and interpretation of data is comprehensive and considers all of the associated factors that may have an effect on your operations.  The data analytics professional should include subject matter experts with in-depth experience in the particular field which is being analyzed.  The incorporation of these experts will assure that the appropriate questions are considered during the data analysis process resulting in intelligent and actionable data that develops optimized analytical algorithms.

 

 

Mobile and remote communications technology

 

Finally, now that your data has been properly collected, analyzed, and interpreted, and you have identified data driven decisions that provide better, smarter and cost effective services, you will need to communicate these decisions to the end users (i.e. the citizen, the patient, or the client).  For this, it will be necessary to incorporate technologies that can connect to the individual such as smart phone apps, direct texting, and tele service.  This direct contact is essential to the achievement of changed behavior that lead to improved outcomes.  It may be necessary that the communications device provide incentives such as merchant discounts, entertainment and dining coupons and other money saving options, in order to get the end user to engage. Companies who provide health insurance for their employees, for example, will cover the employee’s copayment fee to provide them incentive to use their concierge app to schedule their medical appointments.  Moreover, important data can be collected regarding the end user’s tastes and habits that will further enhance your data inventory.

 

With today’s challenge to do more but more efficiently, we have no choice but to find ways to provide better products and services at a reduced cost.  Working intelligently with data driven decision making can accomplish this.  Strategic utilization of your data is not only the way to put the lion back into the cage, but the way to tame it as well.  

 

 

 

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