If you read all the stories and hype on Business Intelligence software you could convince yourself that by simply installing the software you will instantly make your management team better at making intelligent decisions. Like magic.
Entrepreneurs are fundamentally successful because they have a way of looking at the business indicators that are different than their competitors and a drive to make it happen. They operate on hunches and intuition based on years of experience looking at data through their own filter. Can this be enhanced and improved by way of better analytics? Yes, but don’t think it can be replaced. We see a lot more risk of drowning a management team in the wrong data that actually creates a risk of them making wrong decisions. It’s never about the volume of data one sees, it’s about the relevance and accuracy of that data.
Anyone that has ever worked inside a finance department knows the frustration of working hard on getting a report ready that the upper management needs urgently (cutting and pasting into the wee hours of the night) only to have them tell you instantly “this number is wrong,” and being right about it. How did they know that when Excel did the calculation and you worked so hard on it?
The problem stems from the underlying systems that the data was gathered from and the lack of standardization in that data. An average company has six sources of data to draw from so getting that “number” right when you lack the intuition and experience can be very tough. It is further compounded by the difficulty in getting at the six or more sources of data and the “one” element that is the actual indicator. Of course the fact that three data elements could be called the same thing in three disparate systems does nothing but exacerbate the problem for you.
Some data sources are structured like accounting and transaction data, some are semi-structured like spreadsheets and some totally unstructured like Word or SharePoint.
No software ever created to date can pull that together and make sense of it, at least not instantly as the marketing hype promises. Therein lies the problem for management. Getting all the wrong data faster can only send you down a tangential path leading to nowhere. In fact, making the management team dumber, faster.
Business analytics has tremendous value, but it comes at a price. That price is a lot of hard work and discipline to ensure what you are looking at is in fact actual. Find out best practices in getting to the right data for your management team by downloading this white paper: