Which data ‘description’ fits you best?

In our experience businesses tend to identify with one of the following six ‘data’ descriptions. Which one they relate to depends on where they are in their work with data. It also decides what sort of help they might need to move them forward. The following is a brief summary of the descriptions and the sorts of progress solutions that are relevant to each.

OUT OF THE BLOCKS – Businesses here realise the value of working well with data but are at an early stage in their journey. They are typically focussed on internal data, using it for performance reporting, budgeting and forecasting. Progress can be hampered by data quality issues and lack of expertise with basic tools.

SLICE & DICE – Data is well organised in spreadsheets or databases and pivoting numbers is ‘par for the course’. While data is more structured, businesses at this level may lose a lot of time on repetitive tasks and may be concerned with the lack of robustness of the many spreadsheets/many users model. Some automation, tools development or process improvement can help them be more effective and efficient with data.

MEASURE UP – These businesses have good data sources and tools to access them, but are not sure what they are looking for. There is an emphasis on return on investment both in relation to the data itself and the marketing activities it reports on. Social media measurement may be adding another level of complexity. Clarity on goals and the precise way progress will be measured is key.

BIG DATA, LITTLE INSIGHT! – For businesses that fall under this description, the sheer volume of data is a problem. Often interpreted as data overload, it is rather an issue of filter failure. Good analysts act as filters for their organisation. When there is a deluge of data, analysts are not succeeding. The issue may be lack of analytical talent in the business or over reliance on a single ‘keeper’ of insights. Solutions range from extending access to data to outsourcing some or all of the analysis workload.

WHAT’S THE STORY? – This description applies to businesses in which there may be plenty of good analysis work taking place, but the conclusions are not being shared with the wider business. It is not unusual for decision makers to be a lacking a summary right when it is needed. The value of the analysis is lost because of a lack of collaboration. Solutions typically involve bringing the story together eg blending data from multiple sources, sharing the output in a custom dashboard.

FINDING THE EDGE – These businesses have a depth of analytical talent that supports decision making with insight generation. Robust tools and processes are in place that ensure accuracy and efficiency. They seek competitive advantage through their ability to work with data, and continuously evolve how they do this. They tend to be pioneers in the adoption of new technology and ways of working.

If you would like any help in progressing your work with data, please contact Delphi Analytics.