Metrics that matter – how Olink is creating a data-driven culture
Back in 2017, The Economist published a story titled, ”The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data”. We’re living in a digital economy where data is more valuable than ever, so this expression is even more relevant today, three years later. For those who see the fundamental value of data and learn to extract and use it well there will be huge benefits.
But in a world where we’re running faster and faster every day you need to stop and ask yourself: does data make the decision, or do you use data to help you make better decisions? Your answer will change your organizations relationship with data. It will help you reflect on whether you are data-driven or data-informed.
We met Carl Raimond to see how he and his commercial team started an initiative called “Metrics that Matter”, an initiative with the goal to create a set of actionable and meaningful metrics to help guide business decisions and progress toward strategic goals. Carl’s focus was to implement a set of metrics that would add value rather than generating a sea of reports with no clear purpose.
““The first step is really to ask yourself what are the real metrics that drive your business, inform decision making and propel your strategy. The data that will give you fuel in taking action. It’s easy to get consumed with our everyday responsibilities, that we don’t take time to stop and reflect on what these metrics really are. But in today’s data driven and competitive world we can’t afford not to. ”
Carl Raimond, Chief Commercial Officer at Olink
Creating a data-driven culture
At Olink they had a small set of metrics measuring commercial success. Many of them were indicators looking at historical data. Carl put together a task force with Sales leaders, Sales Operations and Finance in order to align around the metrics that really mattered to their organization’s growth.
The process looked like this:
- Align your metrics. Step one was really to align around the metrics. You can measure almost anything today, but just because you can measure it doesn’t mean that you should. You need to be honest and brutal in choosing the metrics that really matters in optimizing and growing your business. Each business has its nuances so you can’t go with “one size fits all”, you need to do the preparatory work within your team first.
- Make the first cut. Step two is to list all of the metrics and decide which of them you can attain right now, which of them can be attained with some work and which of them you need to let go of. At least for now. Choose carefully and remember not to get paralyzed by all the data available. The important part is to start somewhere.
- Make the information available. The third step is to decide how you will create the information needed. What are you going to do with the information and who are your key stakeholders?
- Don’t drown people in data. Lastly, you need to talk about cadence. You can easily drown people with too much information, too often, which will lead to the opposite of a data-driven culture. Create a matrix for different stakeholders so that you know the basics: to who and when?
- Use the right tool to visualize. You need to be able to make the data understandable to everybody. The value of data is not the information itself, but what you can do when you understand the trends, behaviors etc. There are great tools you can use for visualization. Use them well. At Olink the finance team had already adopted Qlik and the flexibility in the tool was great. So, with the help of Andréas Pettersson, Subject Matter Expert from the Via Summa team, they began creating the dashboards needed and Qlik became one of the primary tools for visualization of the metrics.
- Plan for execution. Every goal and vision needs a plan for execution. Take the easiest tasks first and get going. This way you will show the team some quick wins. The long-term vision is great but look at what you can attain now and start making progress.
“We had great support from Via Summa and Andreas, he is fantastic! We articulated all the metrics that we wanted, and he came back with all the things that we could measure and visualize in Qlik. In today’s world, it’s crucial to leverage data. It’s not a matter of wanting to use data. It’s necessity."
Carl Raimond, Chief Commercial Officer at Olink
Carl’s 3 best tips for data-driven growth
- Agree on the data that really matters – don’t become overwhelmed by information. Data is big and it´s expected to grow in volume every day. The key to success is taking that first step and align around metrics that matter the most
- Execute immediately – don’t wait for the perfect system or information. Get going and optimize as you go. Don’t just push data around and don’t let perfect get in the way of good enough!
- Create a data-driven culture. Make data a natural part of your organizational culture
and mindset. Make data accessible for everybody, provide training in the tools you use and help everybody to adapt to the data-driven culture.