All successful organizations need strong leadership, whether it comes from a captain of a baseball team, officers in the military, or a founder/CEO of a tech startup. We’ve all seen with our own eyes how poor leadership translates into inefficiencies, lack of organization, poor collaboration, and a general lack of innovation. Today, all businesses rely on software and technology, so effective IT management can make or break an organization.

CIOs, CTOs and other future-ready IT leaders need certain skills to lead teams effectively and efficiently, regardless of the size or scope of the project. Some of these skills are soft skills such as empathy, compassion, and open communication, but data also plays a key role. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and data is essential for measuring anything, including the quality of IT leadership.

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Data analytics can ensure that managers are properly suited and trained to lead their teams, as well as to assess personal improvement. Here are five examples of how data can improve the efficiency of IT managers while increasing the efficiency and optimization of business processes.

1. Visibility

The data provides IT managers with a holistic view of their teams and ongoing processes happening every day across the enterprise, from systems integrations to cybersecurity. When organizations commit to collecting and analyzing data, they can better understand what is happening in their organization.

By collecting data, you can identify blind spots in internal and external business processes, allowing you to help your teams focus on the things that need their attention.

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Data collection is necessary to direct projects and fully understand how businesses operate, two essential elements of effective IT leadership.

2. Automation

A major challenge for all IT managers is the rapid pace of change. Many teams are slowed down by mundane and time-consuming tasks. As more and more employees and businesses rely on technology to help them with their daily tasks, it is important to understand how technology can be leveraged to speed up tasks and how data plays a role in this. .

Data collection is essential to the implementation of key technologies such as automation and machine learning, which are used to accelerate internal and external processes. Historically, employees had to spend hours manually sifting through data to analyze it, but now automated technology can reduce the time spent on these tasks.

Automated technologies allow you to reallocate your teams’ efforts to higher priority strategic projects and planning so that business initiatives can be completed faster.

3. Risk Mitigation

As noted, collecting data provides insight into your business’ daily performance. However, it can also be used to better understand threats and risks and their potential impact on the organization.

Large-scale data analysis uncovers threats that could affect the business and its internal and external operations. Early detection and understanding of these threats allows you to mitigate risk early and create an action plan to reduce any negative impact or repercussions.

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Additionally, many IT companies must maintain strict security measures to ensure the safety of their customers’ data and information. You can optimize your security measures by testing potential vulnerabilities in your security systems and analyzing the collected data.

Optimize your security measures by testing potential flaws in your security systems and analyzing the data collected.

4. Employee sentiment and performance

Data can help you better understand your employees. By leveraging large-scale data collection and analysis, you can identify employee performance gaps and quickly address pain points and other issues.

Additionally, collecting employee feedback on work-life balance, stress levels, and overall relationships with co-workers and managers helps improve company performance: when employees are happy and engaged, they are more productive.

5. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Assessment

Just as data can help you understand employee performance and sentiment toward the company, it is also a valuable tool for measuring employee demographics. This information can help you evaluate and, if necessary, adjust your hiring strategies to ensure you support diversity in the workplace.

Diversity in the workplace improves business performance by providing a wider range of perspectives. Examining the data gathered from employee surveys and using it to hire a more inclusive workforce can go a long way to improving business performance.

Data is not the only key to success in IT leadership. IT managers also need to understand the best ways to implement data into workflows and how it can improve employee experience, business performance, efficiency across the board, and customer satisfaction. By focusing data collection and analysis efforts on the five areas listed above, you can encourage innovation, increase efficiency, and help your business succeed.

[ Discover how priorities are changing. Get the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report: Maintaining momentum on digital transformation. ]