What is data-driven consulting? Simply put, it’s about making decisions and taking action based on data. To some, this may seem like a no-brainer, but in the business world, it’s not always easy to make decisions based on facts rather than intuition or hunches. Consulting firms in particular have relied on their experience and gut instincts, pushing them to be more consistent in some areas.
Data-driven consulting can be a different approach, as it can offer many benefits to companies, removing uncertainty, increasing consulting efficiency, improving decision-making processes, avoiding costly consulting errors, and thus reducing overall project costs. In this article, we explore these benefits in more detail and explain why data-driven consulting is becoming increasingly important and could be the next evolutionary step for consulting firms around the world.
What is data-driven consulting?
Data-driven consulting is a relatively new field that uses data and business analytics to improve decision making and prioritization of projects as a basis for consulting. It relies on the use of data to guide business strategy, rather than intuition or guesswork. This makes it a very powerful tool, as it can help companies identify opportunities and problems that they might not otherwise be aware of.
The use of data analytics in consulting has exploded in recent years as companies have recognized the value of this approach. By leveraging data, consultants can provide their clients with insights that would be difficult to obtain in other ways. This can help companies make better decisions and achieve greater success on projects or even in the marketplace.
What types of consulting can be data-driven?
There are many different types of consulting that can be data-driven. The most common are strategy consulting, process and operations consulting, and IT consulting. However, there are many other types of consulting that can benefit from the use of data analytics. These include human resources consulting, marketing consulting, and financial consulting.
Each of these types of consulting can benefit from the use of data in different ways. For example, strategy consultants can use data to help companies identify opportunities and problems they might not otherwise notice. Process and operations consultants can use data to help companies improve efficiency and achieve greater success on their projects. And IT consultants can use data to help companies optimize their IT systems and IT costs and improve their overall performance.
Benefits of Data-Driven Consulting
There are several benefits to using data-driven consulting and advisory. Data-Driven Management (DDM) principles help consulting companies to make the most of their clients project and finally also the client relations. Some of these benefits include:
- Increased Consulting Efficiency: By making decisions based on factual information instead of intuition or guesswork, consulting companies can often achieve increased efficiency in their projects. This is because there is less wasted time and effort trying to figure out what the right course of action is – the data will tell you what needs to be done.
- More trust from Customers: Customers are more likely to trust a company that can show them evidence that their decisions are based on data. This is because they can see that the company is not just making things up as they go along, but rather has a clear understanding of what is happening and why certain decisions are being made.
- Better Transparency: Data-driven consulting can also lead to increased transparency between the consultant and the client. This is because the client can see exactly what data is being used to make decisions, and they can understand how it is being interpreted.
- Greater Accuracy: When done correctly, data-driven consulting can lead to improved accuracy in decision-making. This is because the data, insights and KPIs can provide a clear picture of what is happening, and allow for better analysis and interpretation.
- Improved Project Management: Data-driven consulting can also help to improve project management. This is because it allows consultants to track progress and identify areas where changes need to be made. By having this information readily available, it can save time and effort in the long run.
- Greater Ability to Prioritize: By understanding the data, consultants can often prioritize projects and tasks much more effectively. This is because they can quickly see which areas are most important and need to be addressed first.
- Improved Decision-Making: The use of data analytics can help businesses to improve their decision-making processes. This is because data can provide insights that would otherwise be unavailable. With this information, companies can make better choices about where to allocate resources and how to proceed with various projects.
- Better Outcomes: In the end, the goal of data-driven consulting is to help businesses achieve better outcomes. By using data to guide decision-making, businesses can often improve their overall performance and results. This can lead to increased profits, higher levels of customer satisfaction, and more.
- Reduced Insecurity: One of the biggest problems with making decisions without any data is that it can lead to a high level of insecurity about those decisions. This is because there is no way of knowing whether or not they were the right choices. With data-driven consulting, however, businesses can be confident that the decisions they are making are based on reliable information rather than guesswork or hunches.
- Better reputation: A consulting company that offers data-driven consulting will often have a better reputation than one that does not. This is because customers and clients will connect it with trust and expertise. This can lead to more business and more opportunities in the future to upsell consulting services.
How to start with data-driven consulting?
Every consulting company can start with data-driven consulting by building the understanding, creating a data-driven culture, and using the right tools and platforms. This is done on various levels.
The first step is for the consulting firm to develop an understanding of what data-driven consulting is and how it can help their business and client outcomes. They need to learn what data is available, how to collect it, how to analyze it, and how to use it as a basis for consulting. This data literacy should be part of any consultant’s onboarding. It is also advisable to build a local learning platform to share knowledge and create frameworks that have proven useful in various consulting projects.
Once they have a good understanding of data, the next step is to create a data-driven culture in the organization. This means making sure everyone from top executives to junior staff understands the importance of data and how it should be used in decision making and client projects. It also makes sense to base internal decisions on data so that it becomes normal for every consultant to talk about data-driven decisions.
Finally, depending on their size, some consulting firms are building their tools and platforms to enable data-driven consulting. It is also advisable to use neutral tools such as MoreThanDigital Insights to collect, process and analyze data more effectively and build trust with clients. These neutral platforms can also help in the acquisition phase, as external platforms build more trust and avoid the “principal-agent” problem, where many entrepreneurs are reluctant to trust the advice of consultants.
Problems of Data-Driven Consulting
While data-driven consulting offers many benefits, it is not without its problems. One of the biggest problems is that projects can sometimes get lost in too much data. This can happen when consultants try to analyze too much information, or when they try to use data that is not reliable or accurate.
Another problem with data-driven consulting is that data are always being created. There is no standardization of data and the variability of results is high, so counselors must spend time and effort understanding how to collect, standardize, and analyze data. This can be challenging, especially when there is a lot of data to collect and analyze. Most importantly, the lack of a standard model makes it impossible to compare results and provide a broader view of projects.
The principal-agent problem is also a problem in data-driven consulting. Business owners are reluctant to trust the advice of consultants because the results can be manipulated to sell more advice. Building trust between the consultant and the client can be difficult, but it is essential to a successful data-driven consulting project, so it is advisable to use neutral third-party assessments to build that trust.
Often, data-driven consulting also fails because the client company is unprepared or lacks data skills. This can create additional challenges, as consultants must first train the client to successfully use data-driven consulting methods.
Data-driven consulting is becoming an increasingly important tool for consulting firms. It can help managers and consultants make better decisions based on accurate data, and it can help build trust between consultants and clients. For data-driven consulting to be successful, both consultants and clients must have a good understanding of data, and there must be a corporate culture in which data plays an important role. Companies should also use neutral tools such as MoreThanDigital Insights to collect, process and analyze data more effectively.