The collection and analysis of data must never be allowed to fall by the wayside – it’s a founding stone, not a ‘nice to have’.
Of course, I would say that, wouldn’t I? But here are six concrete reasons why data is important, drawing on Get the Data’s recent work with the Advice Services Alliance (ASA) as a case study.
- Data Is the Great Persuader
There is no more powerful tool for influencing stakeholders than data, as I explained in more detail in this recent blog post on using data to influence stakeholders.
ASA works with its members – various associations who provide advice services – to capture and analyse data from the front-line. This gives weight to conversations with all of those who have an interest in ASA’s direction of travel, reassuring them that strategic decisions are being made in response to changing needs, and reinforcing the professionalism that underlies the work they and their partners do.
- Data Means Funding
In particular, data is invaluable in drawing in new sources of funding, and persuading potential funding providers. Faced with a choice of projects or programmes in which they might invest, with ever-tighter budgets, funding bodies will regard convincing data as a good reason to choose your work over others. ASA will use data to add weight to its funding applications for this reason.
- Data Gives You the Power to Lead the Debate
ASA seeks to lead thought, representing its members in national discussions by highlighting issues affecting the people who use advice services. The body of data and analysis to which ASA will refer confers authority and allows the organisation to direct the debate and steer collective thinking around youth issues.
- Data Defines Good (and Bad) Practice
Using data provided by its members ASA will be able to identify areas for improvement in front line practice and also to pinpoint what is working especially well so that good practice can be shared across the community. It informs training programmes, service improvements and helps determine how resources should be employed for maximum impact.
- Better data and measurement development
Good data leads to better data. Use of data means we learn its limitations and how to outcome those. We also learn how to measure the right outcomes, better; particularly in how to measure informal outcomes along said formal attainment.
- Data Is Cheaper and Easier Than Ever
Cloud-based databases are cheap and easy to implement compared to the cumbersome systems of the past. They make it easier for people to enter data and share it. So there’s really no excuse for failing to collect and analyse data in this day and age.
If you would like to find out more about our cutting-edge approach to data capture and analysis please get in touch.