Fact-based steering: How does it work?

When making decisions, experience and gut feeling are increasingly being replaced by facts and figures. The pinnacle of this is fact-based steering, which is a way to manage data-driven work. What does this mean in practice, and what are the opportunities and pitfalls? 


In data-driven work, facts and figures form the foundation for all discussions and decisions. This is primarily a cultural shift: measuring, monitoring, steering, and improving become a new heartbeat for the entire company. This approach yields benefits: those who set up fact-based steering smartly not only learn more from the past but also have a better view of the future.

Levels of maturity

Fact-based steering can be implemented at different levels, depending on how data-mature your organization is. To assess this, we look at how you organize the data and how you currently make decisions based on facts and figures. Then you proceed step by step, observing decision-making processes, gathering data, selecting relevant insights, and presenting them on dashboards. You can use your own facts and figures and start small or link external data and make predictions. However, the latter requires the use of AI and a high level of data maturity.

Dashboards and data storytelling

People absorb information better when it is presented visually or in storytelling format rather than in plain numbers. Dashboards have replaced spreadsheets in most companies. Tools like Power BI transform the right data into useful visual aids. Collaboration between data experts and business people is crucial, although they often speak different languages. Data storytelling can bridge this gap, helping technical experts understand targets and sales departments comprehend technical choices.

The danger of dirty data

Another pitfall is using contaminated data. Just like organizing a wardrobe, clean and structured data with seamless business integration is essential. Once your data is clean, the real questions about data-driven work arise: what do you want to know, achieve, and measure? How can you genuinely improve performance?

Is fact-based steering a must?

Regardless of how it's applied, fact-based steering is a means, not an end. Considering competitors gain sharper insights and better future vision through smart data use, it's clear that fact-based steering is valuable. The first steps towards data-driven work don't have to be extensive but should be well-considered. If you need advice, feel free to reach out to us.

Listen to the entire story in the podcast 'Fact-Based Steering' with Miriam Maan, on which this blog is based. This podcast is the first in a series of Highberg podcasts about the Future of Work. In these podcasts, I engage in discussions with experts and managers about how work and organizations can look now and in the future.

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