Congratulations, you’ve now got your data all in one place! An unlikely greeting, perhaps? Nevertheless, in the context of your existing data arrangements, it may initially feel like several birthdays have come at once.
While this is undoubtedly a major hurdle cleared, it’s not a time to become complacent.
Businesses are far more reliant on data. And rightly so. New roles have emerged to fulfil this reliance. Data Scientists or Data Analysts – highly skilled (and also highly remunerated) individuals who focus on exploring data and finding new ways of extracting deeper insights.
Strategic planning and for that matter – everyday decisions – seldom occur without someone asking: “What does the data tell us?” Typically, asking a question of data scientists means waiting in a queue. In traditional business it might take two to three weeks to source and deliver a report to the board.
If you have to wait for weeks for data evidence to confirm the wisdom of your intended actions, the problem may have snowballed out of control. Or the issue no longer leads your business agenda and there is something else far more pressing.
Does data leave you with a nagging sense of - what if? As if you’re still struggling toward formulating the key questions?
But I’m not a data analyst!
The structure of business and its existing relationship to data doesn’t help. Is data over here? Or over there? The natural habitat of those highly paid data scientists, who surface once in a while to deliver something that, though impenetrable, sounds great – if you could only work out exactly where it should be applied in your business – then retreat back to their office in the basement to continue whatever it is they do.
Does data leave you with a nagging sense of – what if? As if you’re still struggling toward formulating the key questions? Let alone having made a decision on how to ask them, in order to achieve clarity and a true integrated picture of all aspects of your business.
It’s not about lots of data, it’s about knowing what to look for to create some information and knowledge.
Yes, it is about integrating and consolidating all your data in one place but the congratulations are probably wearing a bit thin now. Clearing this hurdle is simply the precursor to a new set of challenges and a new set of priorities. What should your teams focus on?
As a senior manager, you may have a vague sense that something is wrong in the business but if you are unable to put your finger on a precise data diagnosis you can’t be assured of prescribing the right treatment; or if it is even applied to the right part of your business.
It’s hard to see what really matters when there is so much data to deal with. Or which problem requires your immediate attention.
Have you got analysis paralysis?
All the tools, apps and technologies that are passively capturing data are contributing to analysis paralysis. This is the business version of the yips – the inability to make a clear decision that mimics the loss of basic motor skills in sports such as golf and baseball.
The key challenge of dealing with data in silos is the need to understand how it is interlinked. And how to make those links. Not forgetting, that when you look at all of your data you then have to figure out what it means.
A single version of the truth
What you really need is a clear picture of your business, or the area of the business that you are responsible for. A single dashboard that visualises seven or eight smaller integrated dashboards which consolidate multiple streams of your critical data. A 360 degree view that will allow you to understand what is happening in your business. One view that identifies discrepancies and lets you remedy costly errors.