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Do you know what your data is doing?

Data, making decisions and babies

Hi, it’s Carl here, one of TSG’s Business Intelligence Developers and a new father - which means data during the day and diapers during the night (yes I know I should’ve said ‘nappies’ over ‘diapers’, as I’m not American, however, I couldn’t let that alliteration-based pun go to waste!)

Having a child means you generate and consume so much data and have to make decisions on that data on a constant basis. A thought came to me during an early morning feeding session (other than the usual– “I’m tired”, “will Matthew go back to sleep?” or my favourite, “does Matthew look like he’s going to be sick? *”), that recording accurate data and acting upon data points about your child is not so dissimilar to making decisions that impact your business.

Decision-making!?

When making decisions, it comes down to intuition, experience and knowledge. This decision should be supported by quick and easy access to cold hard data, via a BI platform such as Qlik Sense, to truly ensure you have data-informed decision-making across your enterprise. Do you have this?

Obviously, as new parents, and with Matthew being our first child, making decisions is tough! So, after taking some advice from our midwife, I decided to put on my data hat and we started to gather data about our son via an app. 

Garbage in, garbage out

Deploying a solution such as Qlik Sense is a bloody brilliant idea. However, let’s take a step back and think GIGO** - garbage in, garbage out.

Good reporting means good business intelligence; without putting good stuff into your systems, you aren’t going to get good stuff out. This is where digital transformation and data literacy come into play.

Simply put, data literacy is having the ability to read, work with, analyse, question and argue with data. According to research performed by Qlik UK, only 17% of UK workers can be classed as ‘data-literate’ with 40% feeling overwhelmed by workplace data. Being overwhelmed by data stems from too many data sources (unlinked applications, ad-hoc spreadsheets, multiple reporting tools) and not enough standardisation. Does this sound familiar? It certainly does from my experience at the coal face!

Anyway, if you do not focus on your data quality at the front end via developing data literacy skills, gaining insights into your data can be made significantly more difficult - albeit, not impossible as nothing is impossible!

Decision-making = data!

As time goes on, in the world of work and the world of parenthood, you tackle problems (= experience), learn more (= knowledge) and develop a gut feel for things (= intuition). Also, you amass more and more data (remembering GIGO)!

In the world of parenthood, with our new baby-tracking app, and by recording accurately the interactions we have with our son, making decisions about our son became second nature and significantly quicker. For example, it’s been a few hours since a last feed, but you aren’t sure as you’ve been for a (rare) nap. He’s crying and you think its feeding time (intuition/experience). Check the app, and yes, he’s overdue (data). Tah-dah – a data-informed decision but based on Intuition and experience.

That’s a lovely story Carl, but...

Yeah, okay, the example above is a simplistic view of data-informed decision, using a twee example of my newborn son. However, the core themes are incredibly relevant to UK businesses.

Simply put – do you know what your data is doing?

If you do, great, that’s fantastic. You will be making data-informed decisions daily and not wildly guessing or running on hunches. If you don’t, then perhaps it’s time to embrace digital transformation and data literacy and really get to know your data by deploying a business intelligence (BI) solution. Why not give TSG a shout? We've got years of experience with data literacy, data discovery, and deploying great business intelligence solutions from Power BI and the Microsoft stack to Qlik Sense, QlikView and Qlik NPrinting, from data sources as varied as Sage, NAV, and CRM to MS Excel, Google Analytics and bespoke REST APIs.

Shine a light on your data - do you know what it’s doing? A simple question which we can help you answer, but with massive repercussions!

*The answer is always yes.

**The not safe for work version of this is SISO…

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