Companies spend billions of dollars mining data, looking for a competitive edge, and hoping to find value in all the 1s and 0s. Take SAP for example. SAP, the enterprise software giant, generated over $14 billion in revenue in 2011. Why? Because, according to SAP’s marketing group “you need the right tools to help you bring together data sources and turn them into actionable data . . . that help you understand your customers, identify new market opportunities, and capitalize on new areas of innovation by using intelligent data.”
Without question, there is value in the data, but what if the most valuable data wasn’t sitting in the cloud or on a spreadsheet? What if there was tremendous, previously unconsidered value sitting there staring you in the face? What if the true value of your company was locked in the collective wisdom of your employees?
Although it can be comforting to crunch numbers and make conclusions based on data sets, the more powerful and actionable knowledge is already available to us internally, through our own expertise and that of our various stakeholders. All we need is a tool for turning on this faucet.
The crux of the matter is that our employees know our business inside and out, and are usually months ahead of what retrospective financial data tells us. Are you ready to listen? What do we need to know about our business, right now, that our employees already know, but are not saying except around the water cooler?
As Edwin Miller spells out in his first book 9Lenses Insight to Action:A Social Approach to Business Optimization, “the knowledge we get from taking an inside-out view of our company can be meaningfully measured, aggregated, and evaluated. More importantly, because we have discovered this knowledge through a collaborative process, we’ve already made the first step toward implementing it through coordinated action.”
Instead of looking to everyone but ourselves for a breakthrough idea, we may discover that it was right under our noses. The 9Lenses social approach to business optimization leverages the collective wisdom of an organization’s most valuable assets—its employees.