Digital for Impact Week 5: Painting a story, the recommendations pyramid & making sure it’s not a surprise!

By Giri Kesavan (MBA2021)

Giri is the Co-President of The Tech & Media Club at London Business School. An MBA2021 student, he also chairs the degree & careers wide Technology Sector Steering Committee, working with the school, faculty, industry, alumni and Careers Centre on Technology education & careers. Giri works with The Wheeler Institute on content development, outreach and student-led collaborations. He is further involved with the school as an MBA Academic Representative and Peer Leader for Technology.

You can catch up on the Digital for Impact series from week one here.

We’re already into Week 5 of Digital for Impact! This week for us has all been about painting a story. In earlier blogs I talked about the importance of a data room and data driven decisions. Over the past weeks, we have amassed a huge amount of data, ranging from customer sentiments, forecasts, financial models, pitch decks, survey results and qualitative interview comments. It’s been a goldmine!

However, what’s important is not how much data you have, but the insights that you can infer from it. Structuring the data and deriving insights was key this week for our team. We took a very defined approach and broke down the complex problem for the client into three key themes:

  1. Business Areas: What are the current strengths and weaknesses of each business area? What are the threats and opportunities? Crucially, how can we bring focus on which area to target in the future?
  2. Customer: Our analysis on the customer side focused on Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning. We wanted to understand exactly who the customers were and defined key metrics and performance indicators to track customer sentiment. Positioning was key – we wanted to understand the market and competitive positioning for our client.
  3. Product: The tension between new product development and scaling up. It’s something we touched on earlier in course – and now we needed to put metrics to this! We looked at the product-market fit and assessed its strength relative to a go-to-market strategy.

Across Business, Customer and Product, we were then able to define which pieces of data fit into which section. This allowed us to ‘slice and dice’ datasets and traverse through a huge amount of information. Through this exercise, our team identified the key issues and we were able to derive key recommendations and focus areas for our client. However, that’s just the first challenge! Painting a story with this data would be key – and we knew that we had to focus on visualising metrics, creating a story, driving recommendations and have that backed with facts and logical evidence.

An interesting element we discussed in the course this week was the concept of recommendations in the eyes of the client. We found that our structure was too top heavy! We needed to make sure that we put ourselves in the client’s perspective. Sure, we could do beautiful slides with visual data sets across Business, Customer & Product…but what do we actually want the client to do? We needed to make sure we took a recommendations first approach – and broke down the recommendations into bite-size chunks that could actually be implemented. Indeed, delivering strategy is great…but linking top down strategy with bottoms up initiatives would be even better.

As we start crystallising our final recommendations, it’s also important for us to be aware of the concepts of humble consulting that we talked about in previous weeks. We can’t just rock up on the last day and dictate what to do…it’s got to be an evolving conversation. Indeed, as Rajesh and Costas put it so aptly, the client can’t be surprised on the last day when we finally present. Continuing building trust and evolving recommendations with input from the client would be key – and that’s the focus of the coming week!

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *