If the heartbeat of Business Intelligence is the database management system, then data is the blood that flows through it. It drives everything from yearly budgeting to daily strategic decisions. Dashboards provide snapshot views into critical decision points of a company, and morning reports set daily priorities. It is essential that the level of integrity of the underlying data that supports dashboards and reports remains consistently high. The process that is employed to ensure the integrity of the data has to be based on proper change management and environment control. Without these safeguards, data changes can lead to instability in your system, which could turn into an unrecoverable cascading failure of the integrity of the data that drives strategies and critical decisions. Continue reading this post>>
Data Management & the Continued Use of Excel
Small and medium-sized businesses aren’t able to afford business intelligence software platforms that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, that’s no longer an obstacle with the rise of affordable, easy to use BI tools like arcplan. Once you’ve decided that you need better, faster answers to your business questions, you start to get into the nitty gritty details of what a BI deployment means and how you need to prepare your data. Let’s continue with our series on the most frequently asked questions SMBs have when it comes to BI. This time I’ll address questions about data management and spreadsheets.
5) How much data do we need?
The #1 technology challenge for SMBs is getting insight from the data they already have. The average SMB has over 27 unique data sources according to research conducted by The Aberdeen Group – from ERP systems and General Ledgers to CRM tools, social media and more. Your company should carefully consider the amount, type, and “freshness” of data that your organization requires for its reporting.
- How many data sources are really critical to our decision-making?
- Do we need real-time data access or will daily or weekly updates do the job?
- How far back do we need to go? Do we need 5-year-old data or is only recent data important?
Every so often I overhear interesting conversations while standing in line at a store or waiting to board a flight. Recently, I heard this one:
Person 1: I literally put on 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
Person 2: Don’t get me started…I’ll be working all year to knock off the 10 pounds I picked up over the holidays, just to be back where I was before Thanksgiving.
Person 1: Yeah I’ll exercise full-force through January but by February, let’s be honest – I’m tired of it. One step forward, two steps back…
This scenario is true for many of us; we take a step in the right direction toward our goal, but then get distracted and fall behind. Now that 2013 is underway, it’s time to make some data management resolutions and stick to them.
Data management is an overarching term that includes all the disciplines related to creating, housing, delivering, maintaining and retiring data, with the goal of valuing data as a corporate asset. And it’s not just an enterprise issue anymore. SMBs also find themselves struggling with growing data volumes and subpar data quality. Organizations of all sizes and industries are implementing business intelligence software to glean insight from their data, but the thing no one wants to talk about is this: how many BI projects get delayed due to issues with that data. Whether data or their definitions vary across systems or there are rows that violate relationship rules (many-to-one, one-to-many), data integrity issues must be resolved before you can expect great results from your BI software.
Here are some practical steps you can take to get your data back in shape this year: