I’ve been an entrepreneur and business owner since I was 25, basically before the dawn of time. Like many of you, I’ve seen enough “stuff” over the years that not much gets me too fired up (except the Vikings, but that’s another story). I get very frustrated, however, when businesses invest in “solutions” that are supposed to make data analysis easier, but instead require the same if not more technical resources to produce the same result. I can see you nodding.
According to Gartner research, organizations have spent more than $60 billion on business intelligence software and service efforts to improve business performance; however, many have failed to achieve significant benefits, or at least have found it hard to quantify their return on investment. Without ROI, software is nothing more than expensive furniture that costs a fortune while taking up more than its fair share of space (resources).
Part of the reason for this is we invest in tools rather than solutions. Fact is, the latest buzzwords and acronyms can’t solve the complex enterprise-grade problems business owners face today.
Data Mayhem and Inaccuracy
While Big Data has been hailed as the solution to every business problem that ails us, its sheer volume – combined with its velocity and variability – make it more of a challenge to overcome that an opportunity to leverage. In order to coral the chaos, we must centralize, consolidate and correlate disparate platform and system data.
Another problem revolves around the old “Garbage In, Garbage Out” phenomena. Too often, information is inaccurate and siloed, making it impossible for those who need it to either trust it or effectively utilize it.
How can we expect a handful of disparate tools to address – much less solve – these complex problems? Yet we continue to invest in data warehouses, wiz-bang dashboards and stunning visuals, trusting they will perform the heavy lifting while we cross our fingers and hope to see ROI come to fruition sooner rather than later.
A Better Way
There’s a reason today’s business problems are hard to solve – they’re complex and difficult! But solutions are possible. By employing disciplines and methodologies that have been proven to work repeatedly over time – and across industries – we can establish a true analytical approach. Through innovative thinking and new technology we can put our arms fully around data to detect, analyze, understand, diagnose, fix and automate.
There are several things we can do to make our data work for us rather than against us. First, we need to fuse data, analysis and action into a cohesive plan. Next, we must shift our thinking from getting data in and hoping someone uses it, to determining the best ways to get information to the people who can use it to our business’ advantage. This requires a pragmatic approach that empowers users to leverage analytics.
But before anything can change, we need to recognize it’s not enough to invest in and implement the latest shiny tools. Instead, we must employ solutions that, rather than supporting the business-as-usual approaches from yesterday, allow us to measure, manage and optimize data for our future success. It’s time to haul that bulky, waste-of-space furniture to the curb and tack a “free” sign on it.
If you nodded at all while reading this and would like to find out more, I invite you to contact me via email or LinkedIn. I offer free, no-commitment business reviews and a performance fee structure that means you pay only for the improvements we make through cost savings and/or revenue increases. I’ll even help you move that couch to the curb.
- Shane Jackson