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Data – a Tool not the Strategy

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Without any doubt ‘data’ is great.

As a Principal, it is likely that either in isolation or with your management team you make powerful decisions on finance, marketing, customer experience treatment co-ordination and operations each and every day.

In making these potentially ‘game changing’ decisions do you draw on your previous experience, industry trends and/or gut instinct? Or do you draw guidance from objective data sourced from your practice management software, your leadership management tools and your lead generation records?

You may even go one step further and filter the seemingly endless data sets into a simple set of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).

I haven’t met anyone in business who hasn’t had some understanding of the power that data can add to their business. Without question, you should track a wide range of data across your business. If you can measure it, you can track it, refine it and improve it.  Undeniably, collecting “clean” and reliable data and analysing it in a consistent way is part of 21st Century management.

Therefore, data is a fundamental ingredient in decision making, figuring out where to focus resources and on which specific projects. However, it can never provide the ‘WHY”.  Data can’t tell us about your personal values, the culture that you are trying to create within your team, or your customer’s personal feelings when they interact with your brand. The difficult job of truly transforming a business is underpinned by your ability to explore these places where data alone can’t reach. Often that requires time and space, and on occasion a ‘Coach’.

So, consistently collect and analyse data! Certainly, the right data at the right time will facilitate the success of your finances, marketing, patient experience, treatment co-ordination and operation’s; but ensure you control your relationship with data. Make the time to reflect on the bigger picture. Why did you start this dentistry game?  Why are things not as you expected? What’s next – and what do you need to do differently to get there?

The biggest steps are nearly always made by those who can hold onto the ‘Why’, whilst using data to change the course in which they do business.


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Following an extensive and successful career within dental, medical and healthcare publishing, Erica Kilburn founded E K Communications Ltd in April 2000. EKC is primarily a PR and media agency for the dental market. However, they also work across a number of healthcare markets. The company’s ethos has remained the same; to provide innovative, effective PR and media support, always putting our client’s needs and goals first.

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