Make data your ally, not merely an asset 

Matt Kreider Headshot

How does Montage optimize the work that we do for our clients? We couldn’t do it without our fantastic staff and their dedication. This blog focuses on how our Director of Data and Analytics, Matt Kreider, has empowered data to become even more than an asset; he’s made it our ally.  

Why Data is Important 

Information brings about progress, but discretion is needed to use the data to its fullest potential. Tech allows businesses more reach and information, but data analysis helps businesses make better decisions. Instead of hoping for the best, companies working from solid, high-quality data move purposefully. Using solid data can help companies improve themselves and their work. Each project can be better than the last because we learn from what works and what falls short, apply a curious mind to gather relevant information from the client, and find any other data available online. 

Successfully using data analysis throughout the business and client work creates the ability to optimize work and outcomes. Using industry-specific information helps identify organizational performance gaps and can be leveraged to achieve a competitive advantage. Staying aware of industry benchmarks and conducting competitor analysis will allow organizations to know growing industry trends and expectations. This awareness can serve two purposes: goal setting and differentiation. By regularly analyzing the company’s performance, along with understanding the landscape of competition, a company can make strategic moves to address a local industry need and fill in a gap in the sector.

Managing Data Efficiently 

First, the data must be found and localized to ensure an analysis is done effectively. The most common approach is through data centralization and automation. Most companies are data-rich yet cannot harness their information to become a valuable resource. This is due to “data silos,” where data is collected but not standardized or shared. By breaking down the silos, the companies can now make more informed decisions. The silos are purposefully or inadvertently created. For instance, a lack of communication across departments or the absence of companywide policies can result in each department utilizing its own system and data entry methodology, ultimately leading to possible discrepancies and inconsistencies when a data analyst tries to evaluate overall performance or compare two systems where the data entry is inconsistent. 

Once data is centralized, a data analyst can begin the next step of his/her/their work. Data teams are crucial “translators” that help data be easily understood to help other teams and coworkers make informed decisions. When appropriately integrated, data can accelerate many — even most — business strategies by improving the processes and empowering the people needed to execute them. In essence, a proactive data team acts as a bridge between the raw information and final decision-makers. They help make vast amounts of data feel relevant and approachable by sifting through all available information to find and interpret the most pertinent to address each need. 

Some Examples 

Matt joined Montage in 2022, and one of the first projects he was assigned was the National Institutes of Health All of Us Research Program. A component of the program is a network called the Community & Provider Gateway Initiative (CPGI) – a community-focused grassroots group of organizations that are engaged in assisting the enrollment of underrepresented populations in biomedical research. Matt was responsible for developing an infrastructure and process to gather performance metrics to help evaluate and improve performance. Matt’s starting point was implementing modern data management practices into program workflows. Using a detail-oriented and systematic approach, the Data & Analytics team became integral to the program strategy. He started by determining the business objectives and goals, identifying the data sources, and ensuring proper data hygiene. His final steps were to develop a data model, conduct analysis, and transfer it into a data visualization tool to enable easy sharing and interactivity. The data strategy enabled project stakeholders to visualize and implement change using concrete information to bring about positive changes to the program logistics, paid social media efforts, and data-gathering methods of program staff. 

The data team has additionally identified ways to improve internal operations at the agency. They have developed and implemented a management executive dashboard. The concept is simple: keeping internal stakeholders informed and streamlining their access to valuable information. The goal, however, is more complex. By implementing regular check-ins and clear communication, we aim to create a symbiotic relationship between those conducting the analysis and those who consume and share the information. This will result in successful and effective strategy discussions and decision-making. 

An important note: the Data & Analytics team welcomes feedback. Constructive comments and outside perspectives from those for whom the data is gathered will allow the analysts to optimize the dashboard to its fullest potential. Just as data should be broken out of silos, so should data team deliverables. For both client and internal efforts, Matt’s stewardship helps shape an atmosphere of collaboration without compromising the quality of the data gathered and presented. Matt understands and embodies Montage’s commitment to going beyond transactional interactions and fosters long-standing relationships with a holistic approach and problem-solving that looks beyond short-term problems into long-term optimization.  

What’s Next?

Data and data analysis are crucial to any organization’s success, but implementing a process is not without challenges. Technology keeps advancing, with AI and privacy laws changing the landscape at every step. What can a company do? 1) Create a thorough and purposeful plan that puts data gathering at the start of each project –this will help avoid data silos; 2) establish companywide policies for data gathering and 3) directly involve data analysts to ensure crucial information is not lost. Data doesn’t have to feel like a burden when you can consider it your ally. 

Learn more about our perspective on content creation in the ChatGPT era and the All of Us Journey tour to learn more about Montage’s portfolio and commitment to purpose-driven work.