On November 3, I stayed up all night to watch some US election broadcasts. Not only because the outcome will have a significant impact on how the world will be cooperative or offensive over the next 4 years, but mostly to see how different organizations are dealing with data …

Digital divide – whiteboard vs automated

And what I saw was nothing less than a digital divide… I was following election broadcasts on 2 devices. On my tablet (on the left), I watch Belgian television. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a whiteboard in the background. Was it a joke? Or to add a more human touch? Or maybe their electronic display was broken? Anyway, I have to admit that at exactly 4 a.m., another team took over, and they were using more up-to-date tools … 

On my desktop (right), I follow the Wall Street Journal. Information kept up to date in near real time, displayed with the right level of detail and… actionable.

Excel anarchy vs data analysis strategy

This gap is also what we observe when we watch how companies manage their data gold mine. Some of them still pull together data from different sources and try to make sense of it in Excel. Yet other have a complete data supply chain strategy, including processes to extract raw data from various sources, clean and combine the data, present it in an analytics tool allowing the business user to spend their time finding insights and focusing on business actions, rather than collecting data and questioning the truth …

Walk before you run… but hurry if you’re still crawling!

The reality is probably not so black and white, and we recommend that companies adopt a strategy that takes into account their maturity in handling data and information. A big bang approach is not only expensive but also risky. Rather, we believe in an iterative and agile approach with a short time to value. It is important to show early success to gain the credibility and buy-in of the business, to optimize alignment,… and to obtain funding to continue the journey of digital transformation.

It’s not just about choosing between Power BI, Qlik, or Tableau.

Consider choosing a restaurant. Who will join you? Your partner? Friends or family? Go for a quick but decent meal, or rather a romantic evening with top notch cuisine to celebrate your wedding anniversary? And do you want to drive, or rather have something within walking distance. So many choices to make. The answer to the initial question (on choosing a restaurant) is: it depends.

Complete data supply chain

And the same goes for data analytics. Yes, it will make a difference whether you want more powerful data discovery features or not, but looking at the entire data supply chain is even more important:

  • What data sources do you have? How will you combine on-premises data with cloud sources?
  • How will you prepare your data to be ready for analysis?
  • How will you disseminate the information in your company? What tools are you going to provide to different types of users, including business leaders, business analysts, data scientists, or just end users who need simple reports?
  • How will you train your workforce to become more data literate, so they can take decisions based on facts rather than on gut feeling and intuition.

It’s a journey

Properly dealing with data is not a goal. It’s a journey. It will help your business succeed, improve your bottom line, grow your top line … It’s time to get data serious. To learn how we can help you on this journey, click here.