With the likes of the Forbes “30 under 30” list and “Business Leader of the Year” awards thrusting bold business figures into the limelight, it is easy to forget that a company’s success isn’t solely defined by its leader. There are a huge number of stakeholders that are integral to every business’ day-to-day operations.
As Christine Lagarde, current President of the European Central Bank, states; “all stakeholders must fully participate in the gains and losses of any particular situation.” Regardless of the peaks and troughs of a company’s journey, these stakeholders will maintain a special interest in the capabilities and status of the business throughout its lifetime.
There are two overarching categories of stakeholders:
- Primary stakeholders. Primary stakeholders, also known as internal stakeholders, are directly associated with a business and include people like an employee, shareholder, customer, supplier or creditor.
- Secondary stakeholders. Any stakeholder external to the business is a secondary stakeholder. This grouping incorporates members of the government, regulators, and community. Although they don’t directly work for the business, they will have some form of impact on or vested interest in the company and how it operates.
Why are stakeholders important?
Stakeholders often have different objectives and needs related to the business, and will have varying abilities to influence it. As the name implies, a stakeholder has a “stake” in the company and will hold important insight into how it functions in its market and social environment. This knowledge will undoubtedly affect the operational strategy of an organisation and the subsequent business successes or failures. Ensuring a positive relationship with as many of these internal and external stakeholders as possible is extremely important to a business of any scale. By curating positive dialogues between the company and its stakeholders, there is considerable potential to reduce risk and push the company towards success with their support for the corporate agenda.
Securing stakeholder buy-in simply involves making stakeholders more active in the decision-making process with the intention to reach a broader consensus on the future of the company. Instead of surprising stakeholders with final decisions or confirmed plans, a business leader can integrate this community into the strategy planning stage and solidify future company goals together.
Stakeholders that are regularly updated in the decision-making processes can provide their unique insight and assist in mitigating risks. Consistent involvement will likely increase the success rates of strategic projects, product development and services provided. By considering their needs and communicating throughout the decision-making process, a stakeholder is more likely to approve and support the business, and actively work to help it succeed.
Why are some stakeholders hesitant to use data analytics in business?
With any new idea or path for a company, there is often some level of hesitation or concern from stakeholders. Primary stakeholders can be sceptical of new technologies or experimental ideas as it can disrupt their current way of working and data analysis is no exception. Many consider data analysis to be so perplexing that only experienced data scientists can fully comprehend it. However, this is rarely the full story.
Data analytics is a fantastic approach to business which powers good, stable decision making that is backed by tangible evidence. This additional layer of analysis seeks to highlight opportunities to reduce risk and improve business performance. Much of the hesitation around using data in business stems from the fear of leaving behind the traditional, management-led approach that relies on leadership’s experience and “gut feeling”. This distrust of data is mostly due to a lack of first-hand experience and apathy for learning a seemingly complex but ultimately fact-driven process.
Having a concern about the quality of the data available could be a contributing factor to this hesitation. Previously, companies would have the painstaking task of data cleansing to prepare it for analysis. However, this laborious task is no longer essential as Cast Solutions specialist data analysis solutions can take the most disorderly data and turn it into an incredibly informative resource almost immediately. We believe that to fully utilise this resource, a company must engage primary and secondary stakeholders as early as possible in this journey to showcase the informative abilities of data analysis.
As data has become more accessible and the technology to analyse it is easier to use, there are fewer bewildering systems and less overwhelming terminology to wade through, thus improving the customer experience for all. Instead of appearing as an exclusive playground for technology professionals, data analytics dashboards have become user-friendly, adaptive tools that can be customised to present key, succinct information about your business clearly.
These dashboards can be adapted, and the user experience can be modified for different audiences unlike previous data analysis solutions. Many companies initially create one for internal purposes, but these dashboards can be easily customised for internal or external stakeholders. All of this information comes from the same source of data but can be presented in a more relevant way for the specified user.
A dashboard for external stakeholders can build trust by transparently showing progress and key metrics for your end clients. Having this up-to-date information easily accessible on a customised dashboard allows external stakeholders to feel constantly informed and involved.
How to get stakeholders onboard with data analysis
The best way to introduce data analysis in a company, while remaining mindful of stakeholder apprehension, is to get experienced specialists involved. Cast Solutions focus on creating a collaborative, client-centric environment to help those involved understand as much as possible about their own data and its potential usage as they undergo their data analytics journey.
We understand the importance of ensuring stakeholders feel comfortable and confident when using data analysis. Therefore, we offer a customised service which ensures all decision-makers and end-users are involved and supported from inception to finalisation.
By introducing the concept and the intended roadmap for internal stakeholders early in the process, we can help to define use of data analytics for the company. From here, we can share our bespoke training to ensure all team members are developing, collaborating and understanding more about the potential of their data. By showing stakeholders the practical usage of their data in strategic planning or operational optimisation, for example, they can see the evident possibilities and suggest opportunities to utilise this resource.
The immediate feedback from these stakeholders will influence the construction of the dashboard and consequently create a better, more relevant tool and customer experience. Internal stakeholders will likely be more engaged when they feel part of the creation of the tool whose design is aligned with their needs.
This focus on personal development, skill enhancement and ownership of the data analytics solution is achieved in their carefully constructed approach to training.
Having this in-depth support from experienced professionals like Cast Solutions will help to settle some of the initial concerns over using data analysis in business operations. It will showcase that data analysis is not an automated decision-making process but rather an extremely helpful process. Data dashboards allows a business to more accurately examine their operations and set them up for future success. It is also a great way to keep internal and external stakeholders engaged, performing and collaborating. Rather than tackling resistance to change, a company can get the most out of the data analysis journey by regularly updating stakeholders from the outset.
Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you make the most out of your data.