Our top five most frequently spotted data dramas and how to tackle them

Shot of two colleagues using a laptop in a meeting at the office

You’re a services business, providing high-end consultancy to clients. Sharing valuable insights using intuitive and accurate data is everything. You’ve got a legacy ERP solution which has the right data but reporting has been below expectations. 

To rectify this, over time you’ve built a quick fix by integrating a dashboard solution. Now, everyone seems to be getting a different answer from what you’re assuming is the same core set of data. You connected your reporting solution directly to the source system – what could have gone wrong? 

Data foundations are everything. 

The reality is that there are lots of things that can go wrong in this scenario. Without due process, care and attention when it comes to data warehousing, users and stakeholders lose confidence in the data and there isn’t a single source of truth for anyone to trust. 

Having the front end dashboards configured to look intuitive and exciting is great, but if you’ve forgotten the ‘rubbish-in, rubbish-out’ rule, it’s time to get back to basics. 

In this blog post, we’re sharing the five data dramas we see most often and how to take action to fix them: 

1. Excel Mash-ups 

We’ve all got them lurking in the background. We take a spreadsheet to work offline, we bring it together with other data sources, we share it with others in the team who add their insights, and before you know it, it’s become the single source of insight for your organisation. Unfortunately human error, poor skills and no ownership leads to disastrous decisions and exposure to unnecessary risk.  

ACTION: It’s time to stop using Excel and get professional help to bring your systems and capabilities together before it impacts performance and productivity. 

2. Data Definitions and Siloes 

Whether it’s different back-ups in different locations or a mixture of on-premise vs cloud storage solutions, having numerous and disconnected data sources is a huge risk and an unnecessary cost. Add to this the risk of departmental drivers and misaligned definitions, getting a single view of operations becomes an increasing challenge. If we can’t agree what a customer is, then how do we align data sets in a complex organisation to create that unified view? 

ACTION: Getting everyone on the same page is where success starts and ends. Run a workshop to clearly define and agree frequently used terms – What is a customer? What is a prospect? When is a customer no longer a customer? 

3. Everyone’s an expert 

We’ve all got experience to bring to the party, but who’s leading the pack?  We so often see inter-departmental rifts driven by ownership of data assets and perceived expertise.  Everyone has used a different system, in organisations of different sizes and sectors – who leads? 

ACTION: System implementations should never be a battle.  Get some outside help to apply objectivity before everyone suffers! 

4. No near or real time data 

Imagine making decisions for today based on data which is three months old? So much has changed, your decisions are already on the back-foot. Extracting insights to power decisions based on stale data assets is a lose:lose. It’s a competitive disadvantage and a security risk. Don’t do it. 

ACTION: Create a real time reporting infrastructure so that you’re delivering immediate and actionable insights. 

5. Not enough resources or time  

The pressures on the finance team are evolving. Monthly and quarterly reporting occupies more time in the resource schedule than the load can bear, but stakeholder expectations are more complex and time-bound than ever before. 

ACTION: Implementing the foundational components of a Modern Data Platform allows everyone to consume data through a ‘self serve’ data culture while the inclusion of best practice processes provides protection and productivity for the long term. 

Want to talk more about how we’ve improved data integrity and warehousing for our customers? 

Let’s chat!

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