Last month, our team attended the 2013 ASAE Annual Meeting in Atlanta and, as always, had an amazing time and attended many exciting and informative sessions. One that we found particularly interesting was presented by the ASAE Data Analytics Committee entitled “Flip That Organization: Going from Data Zero to Data Hero” where the importance of using data and analysis to inform business strategy and decisions was discussed.
Collect, Compile, and Compare
Many organizations spend a great deal of time collecting data about their members using their Association Management Software (AMS), however that data is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding your members. While your AMS system provides a great deal of value in identifying WHO and WHERE your members are, it typically falls short of providing a full picture that includes WHAT they’re doing and WHY. Adding a benchmarking platform to your data collection efforts can deliver key performance data such as operational, financial, and cultural information that, when combined with your AMS data, will provide a much deeper picture of your membership. By combining the data collected from these and other sources, you can turn your data into true Business Intelligence that identifies new pathways to success for your organization.
One such path is leveraging the collected data as a tool for not only your association’s success, but for that of your members. By providing access to real world, peer-to-peer comparison of key performance indicators, you create a highly marketable, member tool that not only will become a valued member benefit but, potentially, a new revenue stream for your organization.
Moving from Collector to Detective
Of course, it is not enough to simply collect the data. The real value comes in transforming that data into meaningful information to identify new opportunities for success for your organization and your members. That is what true Business Intelligence is, and by using tools such as Dynamic Benchmarking to analyze and present that data in a multitude of ways you can identify new pathways to success for your organization. By asking the right questions in the right way (think questions that are answered with clear, quantifiable answers) you will collect Business Intelligence that can identify new opportunities, organizational strengths that can be leveraged and areas where improvement could be made. As an example from our own experience, Dynamic Benchmarking has partnered with many organizations to help identify questions that deliver actionable data.
When working with ASAE in their most recent benchmarking effort, The Association Inclusion Index, Dynamic Benchmarking worked alongside ASAE staff and third party researchers to develop questions to assess the diversity and inclusion efforts of its members. The end result will eventually provide both valuable trend data for peer-to-peer comparison, as well as the ability to give individual participants scores in several key areas that they could use to measure their progress. Through the implementation of one benchmarking study, ASAE will be able to deliver valuable information to their members while also learning about their members’ strengths and weaknesses in the often complex arena of diversity and inclusion.
Looking at your collected data in different ways is also essential when presenting to different audiences. Creating reports that are customized to specific audiences so that the data is meaningful to them and can be easily utilized to inform decisions and actions is one way to use your Business Intelligence to its fullest. The American Alliance of Museums made the switch to online benchmarking three years ago because they saw it as a means to collect data more efficiently. As an added benefit, they, along with their members, were able to leverage the customizable, dynamic data filters to quickly deliver meaningful reports on a multitude of data points. Today, they continue to use the Business Intelligence collected to inform articles, presentations and support their advocacy efforts.
On a daily basis, our team works to ensure that benchmarking is an essential component to making smart decisions in many facets of an organization, especially when combined with other, reliable data sources. Our work with clients ensures that their online benchmarking will increase their Business Intelligence Quotient (BIQ) in areas such as:
- Understanding your members’ operational and financial strengths and weaknesses
- Measuring member engagement
- Identifying new meeting topics
But this is just the beginning. The opportunities to use collected data are virtually limitless, and each one contributes to the increased Business Intelligent Quotient that informs strategy and improves decision making for your association.
Are you unsure of where to start? Contact us anytime, we are happy to help you formulate a plan to put your data to use like never before.