Thursday, 1 November 2012

Beautiful Decisions and the Data Beast

Big data holds a lot of interest for many Business Intelligence professionals as logically the more data (variables) you have the more likely you’ll be able to accurately answer associated questions that arise. At this stage I hereby stake claim to the term ‘big data supporting big decisions’. Moving on…
So this begs the question. Will it be easier to identify what information is relevant to your business, and then go and get it? Or, will it be easier to chuck the lot in? I think most people, businesses will opt for the latter.

This sort of mirrors the relationship most people have with money i.e. if you have it, you spend it, if you get paid more, you spend more. The same might be said for data. If you have it, you want to use it, if it's available you’ll probably better keep it just in case you need it down the line. Whichever is your choice the research available irrefutably shares the fact that every business will inevitably managing ever larger volumes of data (insert mind boggling statistic which references journeys to the moon and back).

Therefore, if you are going to manage more data what are the considerations to keep in mind… this can be a minefield and a few subject areas to be aware of include; data mining, data integration, data quality, data replication, change data capture, metadata management. The list goes on. Above all of these interesting and wonderful terms the bare truth hold true and that is your information initiatives are only ever as good as the accuracy of the data supporting them. More bluntly put, garbage in, garbage out. 

Looking further at ‘big data supporting big decisions!’ another question to consider.

On a scale of one to ten what importance for your business to achieve growth do you put on the availability of accurate data to support your decisions? 10 being decisions don’t get made without it.

If you are a 8 or 9 stop reading, get on with some work, you are righteous my friend. I suspect you are probably already using some data governance, data quality processes.

I would suggest the majority fall into the 5-7 range… perhaps aware of it, but not attributing any value to how managing your data can be used to improve the recency of it to support business decisions, operational management and financial responsibility. 

If you're below a 5 … then really, what’s your secret? Might you be a gambling man! 

If you are still reading then I have attained your attention much more than is deserved for these mere observations. However, in closing out with a sensationalised statement I welcome your comments, thoughts, experience and feedback. 

If you are not accessing the relevant data in your organisation, if you don't get updated changes to that data in an accurate and timely manner, your reporting and your decisions for that matter are likely to be error-prone and cause business disruption as well as lost opportunity. The ability to tap into all the relevant points of interest is more likely to yield correct or at least more accurate answers. 

Sourcing data from multiple systems can be achieved by many different methods, but look for the tools that can access and replicate data in real-time, with the least amount of overhead and time consumption on your busy operational systems. 

For more information regarding Business Intelligence or data management then DSCallards are available online, on the phone (0800 652 4050) or in person!

Related Resources:

Using Change Data Capture, you can minimize the amount of time required to get data updates and minimize stress on important systems, giving yourself an edge in data quality across your enterprise information. Read "Five Ways Data Capture Can Help Improve Data Quality".

Free Webinar: Take charge of Data Quality to prepare for ‘Big Data’.  Click here to register.

Written by:  Ben Hedger, Senior Business Development Consultant, DSCallards.

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