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TED CANOVA

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A Prescription To Manage Your Data

Posted on 1 February, 2009 at 12:00

Doctor Caso’s Index Card System


Remember when going to your doctor was more personal? My family doctor, Dr. George Caso,was closely linked to my family’s life; he even delivered me on his own birthday! Dr.Caso’s office was on the first floor of his house. Chairs lined the four walls of his waiting room; no appointment was required. For every visit, his nurse, who happened to be his sister Margaret, would pull out a small index card. That card had my name and health history from birth. It included data of every  visit, bee sting, the dates I had my shots, the measles, and chickenpox. Index cards on every patient were stored in one of those tan, metal, rectangular, pull-out storage boxes. What Dr. Caso didn’t see on the index card, he knew in his head during his weekly house calls he made with that black doctor’s bag. 


Data has come a long way. One improvement in health care is how data is captured,stored, maintained and accessed. But not every business is using data to increase functionality or profitability. We see companies sitting on data, reams of it. Information is stored on a server, in a folder, in a file cabinet. Gems of knowledge lie dormant, all but ignored. Some people know it exists, but no one ever asks to see it. Sadly, most peopledon’t know what to ask for.


This misuse of data is one of the biggest challenges I see in companies. With it, productivity increases and profits rise. Without it, good money is thrown against bad ideas, over and over and over.


What Does Data Do?

Data helps you get to the heart of knowing what works and what doesn’t. However, somany businesses are running blind, often into a brick wall.

Data helps you make better financial decisions. If someone told you Plan A worked, you’d probably do more of it. If you were told Plan B doesn’t work, you’d instinctively stop doing it. Data helps you monitor results immediately. In this environment, businesses must respond quickly to trends. 


Data Is Your Competitive Advantage 

Data helps keep your workforce accountable for results. The lack of seeing data, touching it, analyzing it and reacting to it leads companies down the road ofwasting money on marketing, branding and advertising.


How To Make Data Work For You

  • Demand data. Ask to see what currently exists in your company.
  • Get comfortable looking at data everyday.
  • Analyze your data. Start to see what’s working and what’s not.
  • Commit to doing more of what’s working.
  • Stop doing traditional things that don’t work.
  • Don’t wait months or a budget year to determine if things are working. Respond and adjust to what the data is telling you in real-time.
  • Use your data to demand ROI models on everything you do, from improving workplace productivity to spending efficiently on marketing campaigns.
  • When holding meetings, use data to set new goals.
  • Spend more where your data shows success. Don’t spend a dime on anything you can’t measure through data.
  • Don’t follow the competition just because you fear they’ll leave you in the dust.
  • Be strategic, using data, to decide on re-discovering your unique brand. Data lets you see more cost-efficient ways to spend your money.
  • Experiment. Be the leader that you are, and try new ways of getting your message out.


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