Conversation About the Reporting Mess

The other day I was hanging out with some friends who work for a company I used to work for and they were talking about challenges they were having with some reports. As I listened, images started filling my mind of the challenges so many companies face. Not having a good data strategy within a business is a killer to both productivity and morale, opens up a company to extra risk and blinds people to opportunities.

The first problem I suggested they tackle is validating their current Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). They need to analyze what is currently being reported to find out what is not useful to the business in making educated decisions.

The second problem is that the people who “own” the data don’t like sharing.  The place where I’d start with this challenges is mapping out the data flow. It would be really powerful to illustrate the different touch points within the flow and most importantly where things get stuck. Then it’s a matter of explaining the big picture to those who might be causing slowdowns.

The third problem is that everyone is too busy to sit down and figure out how to fix things. To solve this challenge, we will need to get everyone on the same page and agree to a common data strategy. This will not be a one and done meeting, but a series of conversations.

So to solve this, my friends need to start with asking questions about what do people really need. In many cases I would expect the answer is no. This is where knowing the architecture comes in handy, so you know where the data lives that is currently missing. After this it’s a matter of storytelling and influencing the “owners” of the data to understand how access to key data would generate more powerful KPIs which would allow everyone to get on the same page.

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It sounds pretty easy and it should be. The ultimate challenge is really getting people to all agree on how to use the data. In some cases, it might take senior management support to get everyone to play nice. And my friends will need data to support their argument on how thing can be better and put some numbers behind their vision of a stronger data-driven culture.

This is where I come in. When inside politics and no one has time to lead the charge, an outside consultant might be the best solution. An expert in not just identifying the challenges and sharing findings, but someone who can actually help facilitate cultural change. People who are equally skilled in both the technical world of analytics and the social world of team building are pretty rare birds.

If you are in a situation like my friends, then I’m ready to help you like I helped them.

Analytics Consulting – DMAIPH specializes in a variety of analytics consulting solutions designed to empower analysts, managers and leaders with the tools needed for more data-driven decision-making. We have helped dozens of companies get more analytics in their business. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly so we can tailor an analytics solution made just for your unique requirements.

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