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Driving data culture

At this year's Microsoft Inspire event, data and analytics wasn’t the star of the show, and that’s cool, as Microsoft is heavily investing in innovative solutions as part of the other stack such as D365 / Power Platform and Azure HCI Stack.

However, what was mentioned, really resonated with me... data culture.

Times are uncertain. Conditions are unpredictable. 2020 continues to be a challenge. Trying to navigate 2020 without data, is a bit like driving down the A19, at night, whilst it’s raining cats and dogs, without window wipers, sat nav or headlights...

How will you navigate home safely?

Or...

How do you know how your business, your people, or your customers are doing?

With a bottom up, top down, data culture, to allow everyone across the enterprise to make better, data informed decisions. A data culture is all about having an organisational culture that places emphasis on making decisions from trusted data and information. This is different from the traditional view, i.e. making decisions on gut feeling, from tribal knowledge, and from the skills and experience of a select few.

Building a data culture is more than just unifying your disparate data sets, finding actionable insights and being flexible enough to pivot when market conditions change. It is about what you do with your data, rather than what you say you’ll do!

Without a data culture that values, encourages, recognises, and rewards users and teams for their use of data, no tool and no amount of effort and skill is enough to achieve the full potential of the tools – or of the data.

However, along with embedding a data culture, you must be up to speed with data literacy.

Data literacy is the ability to read, work with, analyse and communicate with data. It is a skill that empowers all levels of workers to ask the right questions of data, build knowledge, make decisions, and communicate meaning to others. Only 24% of business decision makers are confident with their ability to use data, and 32% of C-suite leaders consider themselves data literate.

So, with all the above in mind, at TSG we are experts in Office 365 and SharePoint, the Power Platform, and Dynamics 365, and what do all these areas have in common?

Data.

What do you do after you have deployed your shiny new Microsoft cloud-based solution?

Data...?

What do you do with the data you are painstakingly and accurately recording about your business?

You don’t start exporting to Excel, do you?...

Does your Excel based reporting allow you to easily find out how your business, your people and your customers are doing? Is it flexible enough to pivot to the ever-changing year that is 2020? Does it allow you to see ALL your data? Can you bring your disparate data sets together into one platform, from your legacy systems, your external data or data in other SaaS platforms, with the data in your new, shiny Microsoft cloud-based solution?

Probably not.

If you’ve gone down this route or are struggling with the BI solution you already have in place - perhaps you have multiple legacy reporting systems that need some TLC - then it's time to talk to an experienced partner such as TSG, and let our Business Intelligence Practice help you build your data culture and enhance your data and analytics approach.

TSG are predominantly a Microsoft solutions house, we talk a lot about our ‘Microsoft story’ design tenet however, the BI Practice has multiple solutions in stack, allowing us to have a high-level view across the BI world, and can offer innovative solutions from multiple vendors.

However, when talking about data, we try and not lead with a product, until we understand your requirements, your pains, your big data picture, your dream data view…

Perhaps you have multiple data sources, an advanced analytics requirement with your big picture being a single version of the truth platform, with dashboards and reports that tell a story? Perhaps a Qlik Sense approach would be great for you.

Perhaps you have a simple requirement, from one data source, and could get a lot of value from some user-friendly dashboards? Perhaps then a Power BI approach would be great for you.

Fundamentally, we talk about problems, we do discovery, and a solution usually drops out of the other side!

We at TSG have been talking about data for years, so much so, this blog from January 2018,written by yours truly, still stands true. In this blog, I compare Qlik Sense and Power BI and two years later, the results are predominantly the same.

So, to recap, a data culture is very important, and I’m thankful that MS Inspire brought that to the forefront of the agenda. What you do with your data (data-driven decision making), is greater than what you say you’ll do (gut feel). Being able to read, analyse, communicate, and argue with data is linked with a strong data culture. Having a platform for all of your data, enables that strong data culture, and improves data literacy across organisations.

Already a TSG customer? Have a data issue? Then get in touch with your Customer Success Manager. Not a TSG customer, well, why not get in touch, and see what we can help you with? Don’t suffer with bad data analytics!