As a club leader, you already possess a resource which can transform the performance of your business and contribute mightily to its long-term success. It’s your collection of operational and financial data. Let’s put this in context.
Intel tells us that up to 2003, our world had generated some five exabytes of information. Today, this much data is collected every two days. However, we have been much better at collecting and storing data in ever more efficient and cost-effective ways than we have been at analysing it.
That’s finally changing now, as tools capable of discovering the underlying patterns and meaning which are lingering in the data migrate from the research lab to the workplace. The potential benefits from these applications are extraordinary. Members may say one thing but put their money down on another. Algorithms can tease out these sorts of truths from data designed to measure something else.
The majority of clubs already have most of the raw data they need to undertake such a beneficial analysis of performance. The key is to be found not in sourcing the data – readily accessible from widely-used club management systems – but in its analysis and application. Transforming the data to insights. Transforming knowledge to wisdom.
Successful club managers know the right questions to ask of their data to determine if they need different or more information to really impact the performance of their club. Knowing the questions to ask is the sure path to finding the answers you need.
A dependable data management plan yields five demonstrable benefits;
- Faster and better informed leadership decision-making;
- Improve operating performance;
- Efficient, cohesive and effective planning;
- Deep understanding of your existing membership and/or customers; and
- Competitive advantage for your club.
So what do you need to consider?
- Don’t mistake the reports from your management system for insights. These systems can record and store a vast pool of information, but the crucial management challenge is filtering for data that really matters. Club leaders need to ask themselves if the data they are capturing and reporting yields genuine insights for the club’s leadership team—or if it simply adds to the workload with undigested information.
- Most clubs operate multiple systems. In 2016, a GGA survey of European Club Leaders revealed that clubs typically operate with at least three separate software solutions. Even if interfaces are functional, your goal must be to extract and collate only the valuable data from each system to develop a 360-degree view of business performance and potential.
- Focus future IT investment in acquiring the capability to analyse your existing data, rather than in purchasing new solutions which often offer more than is really needed.
- Identify the questions you must answer to drive your business forward. Clarifying the appropriate questions requires creativity, a deep understanding of the available data and a thorough knowledge of the business. Leaders need to place a premium on recognising opportunities in their data. What might be possible if there were no constraints to getting key questions answered?
- Metrics designed to show how well clubs are using their data to meet club goals are an increasingly vital management tool.
GGA’s Approach to Mining Insights from Information
Since our foundation 1992, GGA has compiled and analysed a treasure house of information about the club industry’s complex and shifting operating environment. As we set about developing analytic tools to make sense of this information, the golf and club industry was undergoing major changes. Fewer people were playing golf, but more courses were being built, posing a host of unexpected challenges for private and commercial club managers.
Enhanced competition, both from private clubs and daily-fee courses, would test the skills of even the most gifted and dedicated club managers. Few clubs were immune to the new market threats.
In response to this new competitive reality, GGA designed a set of analytical tools designed to help management teams and boards of private clubs respond to golf’s transformed market.
Our comprehensive approach, utilising our proprietary analytic tools, enabled GGA to provide effective long-term strategic guidance to individual clubs. But we wanted to do more to help our clients–not simply to light the path ahead, but provide a sort of virtual GPS system to guide them through any obstacles they might encounter.
Just as the healthcare industry uses computing power working on vast databases to identify the treatment protocols producing the best outcomes, GGA has examined the deeper financial truths embedded in the experience of thousands of clubs. We have focused on identifying and measuring the vital signs crucial to the financial health of private clubs.
Through gathering and analysing data, creating benchmarks, and observing and recording the best practices of well-managed clubs, GGA has sought to understand and document what works for the most successful clubs.
This quest in turn prompted the creation of an entirely new approach to business insights and club governance. GGA has distilled its overall findings into a club leadership tool we call Strategic Intelligence (SI).
SI collects your club’s existing data in relation to operations, finances, and membership. It then layers in a deeper market analysis of both a club’s internal and external environment. The results, delivered through a secure online portal, are detailed, accurate and actionable insights about your club’s overall performance.
SI identifies a club’s strengths and opportunities, providing a clear picture of the challenges to be addressed. It also provides the club’s leadership with a concise, reliable scorecard of its position and progress.
SI delivers its guidance in easily understood graphs and charts on a customized online portal, providing the information, analysis and guidance club leaders need to support planning, guide decision-making and measure success.
This tool was designed to support GGA’s clients in getting the most from the data they have, and report it in a way that transforms it into real, actionable business intelligence. There is extraordinary value in what you already have, it is simply a matter of knowing what questions to ask, and how to interpret the answers when they come.
Summary on how to get better insights from your data.
- Audit your current management systems.Are you capturing and storing the types of information that will help you gain the insights you need?
- Identify and prioritize the opportunities for improving data utilisation.How well do you use your data? Do you see opportunities for developing better analytics or asking better questions? Will you need more or different data?
- Benchmark insights and analysis.How do your insights compare with those of competitors and the practices of the top performers?
- Identify the resources necessary to realise those opportunities.What new tools, people, systems and service providers will you need to address the opportunities?
The club industry faces stern challenges, but it is better equipped to tackle them that at any time in recent history. The tools are there for you to use.
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