Resolutions for Your Research Organization: Start Making Data-Driven Decisions

Anna Hrovat-Staedter
January 17th, 2018

A new year means a fresh chance to achieve your organizational goals and grow your research program. Looking forward, what do you want to achieve in 2018? Perhaps you’re approaching renewal for your cancer center support grant (CCSG), or looking for more efficient ways to allocate your research team’s resources.

No matter what improvements you’re looking to make in the coming year, operational data provides the insight you need to make informed and actionable decisions about your research operations. Below we explore how operational data allows you to reflect on challenges your research program encountered in 2017, identify areas for growth, and reach attainable goals.

Reflect on challenges faced in 2017

When setting goals for 2018, use past performance data to make informed decisions about which processes are most in need of improvement. Think back on workflows over the past year:

  • When did you feel your workflows served your needs?
  • When were your current processes a source of frustration.?
  • When did your day-to-day workflows or cross-functional communications disrupt your research timelines and achievements?

Use past operational performance to help you identify the few challenges that hinder your research efforts most. Once you’ve dialed in on the most pressing challenges from the previous year, take the time to dig deeper into the root cause of those issues.

Identify areas for growth

Where do you look for information about your research operations? What data do you collect, or metrics do you track to gain insight into operational challenges that could help discover the best areas to address? Look to resources you already have at your disposal to maximize your previous investments. For example, data in your CTMS can help you visualize your accrual performance, study activation and staff effort. You can ensure stronger goal setting and attainable results by basing your decisions on data collected from previous experience.

Consider this: In 2017, you were frequently asked to report on your catchment populations to ensure you were serving a representative sample of your institution’s population. How much time did these reports take you to generate? If you had to analyze gender, age and race populations on a monthly basis, consider how much time savings you could allocate to other areas of your operations. By identifying ways to optimize tasks that you frequently conduct, you’ll increase time savings to use elsewhere.

Reach attainable goals

Goals informed by actual operational data increase your opportunity for achieving success and realizing the results of your efforts. Not only does data-driven decision-making increase chances for improvement, it also encourages to your staff and organization. Knowing that you’re using data from their past experiences to address their common challenges can motivate your staff to contribute to tasks that achieve team goals.

Utilizing operational data to inform future decisions can help you and your organization achieve your 2018 goals. Want to learn more about how to maximize the impact of your operational data to achieve organizational goals? Download your copy of our free eBook, Analytics in Clinical Research: Using Data to Inform Your Research Operations.

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