Introduction
Don’t join the increasing number of organizations making bad investments in analytics and big data. You must understand that more than just the availability and volume of data has changed. In fact, how we engage that data creates the greatest opportunity.

Expertise
Originally, analytics involved people who could mine the data, pull together reports and present this information to stakeholders. These individuals have returned, relabeled as celebrated “Data Scientists.”

Looking at difficult complex equationThey provide key insights and great value, but it comes in bursts and at significant cost.  In other words, this approach remains out of reach for many organizations.  Even when implemented, it doesn’t shape and broadly guide daily decisions.

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Pointer

Everyone now has a dashboard. Much like a pointer, these signal where the data you hunt for resides. However, dashboards present a series of problems. One, you have to have discipline to regularly reference it. Two, you have to have the focus and context to recognize the key piece of data or relationships.

Finally, most people prove to be horrible interpreters of data, almost willfully drawing dangerously incorrect conclusions.  Dashboards provide the illusion of engagement with data, but fail to deliver on that promise for many organizations.

Retriever
Hunters
You want to have systems in place that find the key data and bring it to you at the point of greatest value, much like a Labrador that gets the quarry and brings it to you while hunting. This means programmatic interpretation of data that gets incorporated into your applications and decisions. This codifies the analysis and expertise broadly exposing it to your organization. You want alerts and notifications that bring the relevant context to you rather than a dashboard with a cacophony of images and loosely related data.  In short, you want the solution to notify you when to focus, provide the key context for you, and inform an immediate business decision to improve your organization’s performance.

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With this approach, the new era of analytics can deliver on the hype and help your organization make better informed decisions that impact your day to day operations. I look forward to exploring the dos and don’ts with you in upcoming posts.