Corporate CPR Episode 36: How to Effectively Make Data-Driven Decisions with Tarush Agarwal

April 21, 2022

On today’s show, we discuss how to effectively make data-driven decisions.

Tarush Agarwal is one of the leading experts in leveraging data for exponential growth, with over ten years of experience in the field. After graduating with a degree in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 2011, he became the first data engineer on the analytics team at Data was in its infancy, and the log metric framework which Tarush built was critical in allowing Salesforce to analyse data across customers and provide benchmarks across different industries and verticals

Most recently Tarush led Data for WeWork, one of the fastest growing companies in the world. WeWork leveraged data to be able to grow 10x in 3 years, supporting a footprint of 800+ offices in 120+ cities in 23+ countries with over 12,000 employees. Tarush scaled the data org from 2 to 100+ and their unique approach allowed them to stay lean while supporting every functional area of the business. In 2019 he moved to China to help establish WeWork’s Asia operations and focus on the hyper growing Chinese market.

Key Takeaways:

What questions should companies be asking themselves? 

  • Firstly, do we have the right infrastructures in place in order to get the data to answer these questions?
  • Where are customers coming from?
  • What are we doing to engage and retain them?
  • How do we start to pay attention to the way our business operates and increase operational efficiency and ultimately profit?

How do you decide what data to “serve up” for a decision-maker in the company?

  • Understand what is required for that level of the organization. Salespeople have different objectives from CEOs.
  • Identify the questions they are trying to answer, then work backward from there.
    • What is the data we need? 
    • Are we tracking it? If not, how do we track it? 
    • How do we then ingest it, model it, structure it, and build out reporting? 

How do we “think big” in the beginning stages to keep from building too small of a foundation?
Separate the data systems from the business systems. There will be many business systems, and the business needs this flexibility. The key is to pull data from anywhere to a central location and then be able to join it, stitch it, and be able to answer the questions the business needs answered.

When should a small company consider investing in more technology to integrate the data?
Once you start having multiple channels, vendors, or departments, centralizing the data becomes very important for better visibility.

What are your top tips for companies wanting to be more data-driven? 

  • Start early. It will take time to perfect the system. Getting visibility leads to asking better questions, so it will be a process to get to the best solution.
  • Think about scaling from the start. Bring in the right equipment day one. It is difficult to build on a poor foundation later.
  • Utilizing external solutions can save a lot of time and money, rather than trying to figure it all out on your own.

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