Creating the insight you need

The 5 quick tests that will tell you whether your technology team is using data that can add value

If you’ve been following the articles in this series and the tips contained then we will assume that your organisation now has a clear set of objectives, knows how to achieve them and is ready to apply itself with laser like focus. The measures that drive success have been defined, all that’s needed now is for your technology team to bring your data to life with the right data visualisation or dashboard.

There are many pitfalls in this task however and building from bad data is one of the worst because it’s not always obvious at Board level that something is awry or what to do to fix it, especially when looking at the latest shiny data visualisation tool or when swimming in pages of graphs and charts in this month’s Board Pack.

The tech savvy CEO will be listening out for signs that the information is trusted, understood and informs action.  If you hear grumblings that the “data is wrong,” or there is disagreement on what the information means or that there are no actions resulting from studying all this stuff then read on, the challenge might be your data quality and how it is manipulated into the information you receive.

In order to turn raw data into actionable insight it must be:

  • Correct: An accurate reflection of business performance
  • Current: Timely enough to inform decision making
  • Comprehensive: It must describe completely the factors that drive business performance (missing)
  • Consistent: To allow comparisons to be made across time
  • Clear: Presented in a form that allows a human being to easily interpret and make meaning from the information

In many organisations, the data does not meet all of these tests and even experienced analytics teams often struggle to address the shortcomings when they arise.  The most common problems and questions to ask of your technology team are in the table below:

There are of course other reasons that get in the way of analytics adding value to your business when they are used and we’ll discuss these in next week’s article.

If you have any specific questions or an example you’d like us to work through with you, you can submit it here. If you chose not to leave an email address we’ll include an anonymised response as part of the final article in this series.