Make your data relevant and sticky
Do you know a business with a small or large data use problem? Here are some steps to help:
Expected outcomes from reading this 4 minute article will help your understanding of
- The purpose of data to information
- Why a business intelligence strategy matters
- The story of data to decisions - Linking the dots
- Executive reasoning and the cliffs of peril
- What a dashing dashboard - How dashboards matter
The purpose of data
Why bother, I mean why bother at all with all this data? Is it just so much noise and little action? The truth for many areas within a business is there are metrics and data simply not relevant or needed. This data creates noise within the organization and leads to a cumbersome trudging low speed and disengaged place of work. More time is spent “chasing the numbers” and not performing great work.
If you recognize with even a small nod of agreement with my above comments then are you also complicit with this data conspiracy? The purpose of the data is not for data sake, it is not meant to be for a manager’s benefit to place 30 versions of truth behind an untested hypothesis. This is where we transform data to information and place it on the road to becoming more sticky, tasty and desirable through business intelligence.
Action Point: Review the need, wants, wishes and actual use of data
Why a business intelligence strategy matters.
The cost in time and money to maintain, manage and use a business intelligence system should be proportional to its benefits and return to a business and each person that interacts with the system. By creating a clear strategy to your adoption of data, use of information it should define the resources, skills and desire and motivation to commit to the system of implementation and sustained contribution.
If your management of data has no clear roadmap and pockets of multiple data sets there will be a less effective clear overview when making tactical and strategic decisions.
The strategy should be clear and accountable. There are countless examples of companies running BI systems that become out of date and no longer relevant to serve the needs of the business. That said, it is equally important to be realistic surrounding the limitations of the business intelligence system as it matures and grows. This important note will help identify future budget planned investments, seek alternatives to the current system and keep quality standards high.
Action Point: When was your business intelligence strategy last reviewed?
The story of data to decisions - Linking the dots
Great data supports the ability to make great decisions, however the decisions are often human and so there needs to be the awareness that a business intelligence system is just that, it is a system. The BI system needs to be accountable, adaptable, usable and valuable to the people and organization.
The design of an open trace of accurate data sets, the decisions and reasoning behind actions taken allows improved experience, expertise and learning for the whole business and staff.
Action Point: How does your business allow the data to remain transparent and drive fact based decisions?
Executive reasoning and the cliffs of peril
The leadership team of a business should be committed to the actions within it. This is an obvious statement however organization design often provides the landscape of empire building and one-up-man ship for personal gain over the greater benefit of the business. Decisions made based from a good robust BI system should align its end point whilst considering the business ethics, regulatory obligations and accountability of the leadership.
Some frequent perils in business intelligence systems are, “outsource it all” as an act to make rapid implementation of a BI system without investing the time and resources needed to ensure success for the short, medium and long term. Other BI systems often fall at the point of transparency and simply provide mass excel data sets for local use and decisions or provide a nice dashboard but no authority to make decisions. The largest peril of all is the “build it and they will come” mentality. All these areas can be avoided with simple clear leadership to create and establish a full BI strategy from top down in the business.
Action Point: Does your BI strategy include accountability and a “to serve for decisions” management structure?
What a dashing dashboard - How dashboards matter
To make your data sticky and beneficial to the staff within a business we see the prevalent use of dashboards. In today’s management environment it becomes ever more important to ensure your dashboard is mobile friendly in its design. The need to see data clearly and concisely on a small mobile device will enhance to potential full value and contribution of your BI system.
A BI system supporting a robust dashboard is a powerful tool and the need for a dashboard anywhere reflects the online world we live in. Dashboard security and access levels are important for remote access points on devices or locations from executives to customers and suppliers.
A solid data dashboard for your business needs to be clear and usable to create the desire for interaction and use.
Dashboard design has changed over the years and do not expect the change to stop. A good business intelligence system will support an upgradable dashboard design system. The focus on simple icon selections that encourage interactivity and appropriate use of color in a dashboard is important. Dashboard lights that look like a disco become too distracting and an unpleasant user experience environment.
Action Point: Who are the users of the data and what is the simplest effective way to represent important information to generate decisions?
JAMSO Bonus Point: Dashboard gauges is a matter of style and opinion, it is not a must!
What areas of your business can benefit from the actions points I raise above? Let me know in the comments section below.
Other related articles:
- How to define quality business intelligence
- How to implement great business intelligence analytics Part 1
- Are you ready for business intelligence?
- Devices connections and security across the internet of things
JAMSO helps people and business implement performance improvements. We help business intelligence and dashboard projects become a true cost effective benefit worldwide. Share this article with anyone that can benefit as we continue with our goal to help at least 250,000 people and companies every year through our services.