Data: Choose your Battle

Data – Your Battlefield, Your Weapon

5th August 2019

Hi, this is Samantha, the Technical Lead of ei² specialists in driving insights and analytics based on an organisation’s operational data. Our strategy is to put ‘Data at the Core’ of our clients business. We believe in the mantra ‘Garbage in Garbage out’ - making the foundation block solid, and meaning that any actionable insights and analytics will be trust worthy.

Photo by  Emily Morter  on  Unsplash

In an era where Data is termed as the new ‘oil’, business collects data about everything – customer behaviour, business transactions, websites, mobile app usage, social media etc. With the sheer amount of data around, both structured and unstructured, it is easy to see how data can suddenly become a battlefield in your marketplace. What dangers does it hide, what surprises are in store?

However, the same data holds invaluable insights that can become your weapons in the same battlefield, and can help make better decisions. 

In my blog today, I write about how I encourage my team to take a step back from rushing to present the visualisation on an organisations data and focus on the basics to get trust worthy insights and analytics. The below 4 crucial steps are part of our data enablement service:

1.    Remove Silos

2.    Cleanse

3.    Focus on Business Entity

4.    Contextualise

Remove Silos

Insights and Analytics are only as good as the data underneath it. And data kept by organisations today are often a mishmash of silos, different entities often hold the same information in different names, throw in an external influence such as a merger and acquisition and this is compounded. Data silos pose a similar problem to ingredients in an overstocked refrigerator. Some items are valuable and known to all, some are known to only the kid that consumes, or the person that cooks, and some no one knows what to do with.  Removing silos is the start of getting a business entity right. For example: a hotel business buys a gym and integrates that as part of the hotel, yet the subscription for hotels and gym data may reside in silos, making it difficult for a good visibility of the overall business. From a business perspective, it may suit to have the datasets separate, but from a Business Intelligence solution, removing silos is a very important first step - it can be looked at separately as gym information and hotel information, but also regarded as a whole dataset so that the bigger business picture combines all the information from a management perspective.

Cleanse

At the heart of insights and analytics lies the clarity of the data. The cleaner the data, the better the visualisation. Take it a step further to do predictive analytics, the accuracy and recalls are much better with cleaner data. Data cleansing is not a one time activity, as an organisations operational data grows, impure data grows too, hence data cleansing should be set as a precursor for any data transformation. Leaving it to be tackled later only increases the work and not trustworthy insights, rather like the build up of mess if you don’t have a routine clean up around your home. Leave it for a few days and it’s ok, but leave it longer and the more difficult it becomes to clean.

Focus on Business Entity

With Data prepped, it is now time to focus on the business entities. This phase has a lot of liaison with the business people to get the objects (tables or interfaces) right. The attributes of a business entity is very crucial as different attributes will be visualised in different ways for different departments. Some examples of business entity, going back to our hotel business for example, might be bookings, events, regulars, special offers, visitors etc.

Contextualise

Share knowledge and entity and not ‘data’ with your business. Contextualisation is the process of identifying data relevant to the entity based on the entities contextual information. What ‘location, location, location’ means to real estate, ‘context, context, context’ means to BI and Analytics. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box in order to make that context more valuable. Viewing a marketing dashboard with data external to the organisation like, weather, events both present and past, and traffic helps to analyse the marketing data better.

According to Gartner analyst Melissa Davis:

“Customer-centric, contextualized experiences based on the customer journey are becoming the competitive differentiator for the future of customer experience, requiring organizations to leverage new types of analysis and data sources.”

Samantha Day is the Technical Lead of ei², niche consulting for #data #insights #performance www.eisquare.co.uk