Category Archives: Business Intelligence

Driving data culture

This blog has been re-posted from https://www.tsg.com/blog/business-intelligence/driving-data-culture

At this year’s Microsoft Inspire event, data and analytics wasn’t the star of the show, and that’s cool, as Microsoft is heavily investing in innovative solutions as part of the other stack such as D365 / Power Platform and Azure HCI Stack.

However, what was mentioned, really resonated with me… data culture.

Times are uncertain. Conditions are unpredictable. 2020 continues to be a challenge. Trying to navigate 2020 without data, is a bit like driving down the A19, at night, whilst it’s raining cats and dogs, without window wipers, sat nav or headlights…

How will you navigate home safely?

Or…

How do you know how your business, your people, or your customers are doing?

With a bottom up, top down, data culture, to allow everyone across the enterprise to make better, data informed decisions. A data culture is all about having an organisational culture that places emphasis on making decisions from trusted data and information. This is different from the traditional view, i.e. making decisions on gut feeling, from tribal knowledge, and from the skills and experience of a select few.

Building a data culture is more than just unifying your disparate data sets, finding actionable insights and being flexible enough to pivot when market conditions change. It is about what you do with your data, rather than what you say you’ll do!

Without a data culture that values, encourages, recognises, and rewards users and teams for their use of data, no tool and no amount of effort and skill is enough to achieve the full potential of the tools – or of the data.

However, along with embedding a data culture, you must be up to speed with data literacy.

Data literacy is the ability to read, work with, analyse and communicate with data. It is a skill that empowers all levels of workers to ask the right questions of data, build knowledge, make decisions, and communicate meaning to others. Only 24% of business decision makers are confident with their ability to use data, and 32% of C-suite leaders consider themselves data literate.

So, with all the above in mind, at TSG we are experts in Office 365 and SharePoint, the Power Platform, and Dynamics 365, and what do all these areas have in common?

Data.

What do you do after you have deployed your shiny new Microsoft cloud-based solution?

Data…?

What do you do with the data you are painstakingly and accurately recording about your business?

You don’t start exporting to Excel, do you?…

Does your Excel based reporting allow you to easily find out how your business, your people and your customers are doing? Is it flexible enough to pivot to the ever-changing year that is 2020? Does it allow you to see ALL your data? Can you bring your disparate data sets together into one platform, from your legacy systems, your external data or data in other SaaS platforms, with the data in your new, shiny Microsoft cloud-based solution?

Probably not.

If you’ve gone down this route or are struggling with the BI solution you already have in place – perhaps you have multiple legacy reporting systems that need some TLC – then it’s time to talk to an experienced partner such as TSG, and let our Business Intelligence Practice help you build your data culture and enhance your data and analytics approach.

TSG are predominantly a Microsoft solutions house, we talk a lot about our ‘Microsoft story’ design tenet however, the BI Practice has multiple solutions in stack, allowing us to have a high-level view across the BI world, and can offer innovative solutions from multiple vendors.

However, when talking about data, we try and not lead with a product, until we understand your requirements, your pains, your big data picture, your dream data view…

Perhaps you have multiple data sources, an advanced analytics requirement with your big picture being a single version of the truth platform, with dashboards and reports that tell a story? Perhaps a Qlik Sense approach would be great for you.

Perhaps you have a simple requirement, from one data source, and could get a lot of value from some user-friendly dashboards? Perhaps then a Power BI approach would be great for you.

Fundamentally, we talk about problems, we do discovery, and a solution usually drops out of the other side!

We at TSG have been talking about data for years, so much so, this blog from January 2018,written by yours truly, still stands true. In this blog, I compare Qlik Sense and Power BI and two years later, the results are predominantly the same.

So, to recap, a data culture is very important, and I’m thankful that MS Inspire brought that to the forefront of the agenda. What you do with your data (data-driven decision making), is greater than what you say you’ll do (gut feel). Being able to read, analyse, communicate, and argue with data is linked with a strong data culture. Having a platform for all of your data, enables that strong data culture, and improves data literacy across organisations.

Already a TSG customer? Have a data issue? Then get in touch with your Customer Success Manager. Not a TSG customer, well, why not get in touch, and see what we can help you with? Don’t suffer with bad data analytics!

Setting up a ‘Meet Up’…

For the last year or so, I’ve been trying to attend more Tech related events in my area, as we know, a tech community only thrives when people engage with it. In Sunderland, there is an excellent monthly meetup, creatively named, Sunderland Digital (link), however, in the North East of England, as of 2018, there wasn’t much in the way of a Data nor Business Intelligence community.

Flash forward to February 2019, and, I am now co-organising the first Qlik Meetup in the North East… the snappily named… North East England Qlik & Business Intelligence Meetup – which is proof of the above, a community only thrives when one engages with it!

As we progress on with the planning etc, I plan on blogging on what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what to think about if you are considering creating your own Meetup, or getting involved with a Meetup.

Anyway… our first event will be held on May 8th, and the speakers line-up looks something like this:

Meetup #1 Image

For more info, or to RSVP to the event, see here > https://www.meetup.com/North-East-Qlik-Business-Intelligence-Meetup/events/259171708/ 

Until then, stay safe and keep on being canny with your data!

Do you know what your data is doing?

Data, making decisions and babies

Matthew1

Hi, it’s Carl here, one of TSG’s Business Intelligence Developers and a new father – which means data during the day and diapers during the night (yes I know I should’ve said ‘nappies’ over ‘diapers’, as I’m not American, however, I couldn’t let that alliteration-based pun go to waste!)

Having a child means you generate and consume so much data and have to make decisions on that data on a constant basis. A thought came to me during an early morning feeding session (other than the usual– “I’m tired”, “will Matthew go back to sleep?” or my favourite, “does Matthew look like he’s going to be sick? *”), that recording accurate data and acting upon data points about your child is not so dissimilar to making decisions that impact your business.

Decision-making!?

When making decisions, it comes down to intuition, experience and knowledge. This decision should be supported by quick and easy access to cold hard data, via a BI platform such as Qlik Sense, to truly ensure you have data-informed decision-making across your enterprise. Do you have this?

Obviously, as new parents, and with Matthew being our first child, making decisions is tough! So, after taking some advice from our midwife, I decided to put on my data hat and we started to gather data about our son via an app.

Garbage in, garbage out

Deploying a solution such as Qlik Sense is a bloody brilliant idea. However, let’s take a step back and think GIGO** – garbage in, garbage out.

Good reporting means good business intelligence; without putting good stuff into your systems, you aren’t going to get good stuff out. This is where digital transformation and data literacy come into play.

Simply put, data literacy is having the ability to read, work with, analyse, question and argue with data. According to research performed by Qlik UK, only 17% of UK workers can be classed as ‘data-literate’ with 40% feeling overwhelmed by workplace data. Being overwhelmed by data stems from too many data sources (unlinked applications, ad-hoc spreadsheets, multiple reporting tools) and not enough standardisation. Does this sound familiar? It certainly does from my experience at the coal face!

Anyway, if you do not focus on your data quality at the front end via developing data literacy skills, gaining insights into your data can be made significantly more difficult – albeit, not impossible as nothing is impossible!

BIwide_0

Decision-making = data!

As time goes on, in the world of work and the world of parenthood, you tackle problems (= experience), learn more (= knowledge) and develop a gut feel for things (= intuition). Also, you amass more and more data (remembering GIGO)!

In the world of parenthood, with our new baby-tracking app, and by recording accurately the interactions we have with our son, making decisions about our son became second nature and significantly quicker. For example, it’s been a few hours since a last feed, but you aren’t sure as you’ve been for a (rare) nap. He’s crying and you think its feeding time (intuition/experience). Check the app, and yes, he’s overdue (data). Tah-dah – a data-informed decision but based on Intuition and experience.

That’s a lovely story Carl, but…

Matthew2

Yeah, okay, the example above is a simplistic view of data-informed decision, using a twee example of my newborn son. However, the core themes are incredibly relevant to UK businesses.

Simply put – do you know what your data is doing?

If you do, great, that’s fantastic. You will be making data-informed decisions daily and not wildly guessing or running on hunches. If you don’t, then perhaps it’s time to embrace digital transformation and data literacy and really get to know your data by deploying a business intelligence (BI) solution. Why not give TSG a shout? We’ve got years of experience with data literacy, data discovery, and deploying great business intelligence solutions from Power BI and the Microsoft stack to Qlik Sense, QlikView and Qlik NPrinting, from data sources as varied as Sage, NAV, and CRM to MS Excel, Google Analytics and bespoke REST APIs.

Shine a light on your data – do you know what it’s doing? A simple question which we can help you answer, but with massive repercussions!

*The answer is always yes.

**The not safe for work version of this is SISO…

***

The above article was originally posted on my employers blog – see here

Do you know what your data is doing?

Data, making decisions and babies

Matthew1Hi, it’s Carl here, one of TSG’s Business Intelligence Developers and a new father – which means data during the day and diapers during the night (yes I know I should’ve said ‘nappies’ over ‘diapers’, as I’m not American, however, I couldn’t let that alliteration-based pun go to waste!)

Having a child means you generate and consume so much data and have to make decisions on that data on a constant basis. A thought came to me during an early morning feeding session (other than the usual– “I’m tired”, “will Matthew go back to sleep?” or my favourite, “does Matthew look like he’s going to be sick? *”), that recording accurate data and acting upon data points about your child is not so dissimilar to making decisions that impact your business.

 

Decision-making!?

When making decisions, it comes down to intuition, experience and knowledge. This decision should be supported by quick and easy access to cold hard data, via a BI platform such as Qlik Sense, to truly ensure you have data-informed decision-making across your enterprise. Do you have this?

Obviously, as new parents, and with Matthew being our first child, making decisions is tough! So, after taking some advice from our midwife, I decided to put on my data hat and we started to gather data about our son via an app.

Garbage in, garbage out

Deploying a solution such as Qlik Sense is a bloody brilliant idea. However, let’s take a step back and think GIGO** – garbage in, garbage out.

Good reporting means good business intelligence; without putting good stuff into your systems, you aren’t going to get good stuff out. This is where digital transformation and data literacy come into play.

Simply put, data literacy is having the ability to read, work with, analyse, question and argue with data. According to research performed by Qlik UK, only 17% of UK workers can be classed as ‘data-literate’ with 40% feeling overwhelmed by workplace data. Being overwhelmed by data stems from too many data sources (unlinked applications, ad-hoc spreadsheets, multiple reporting tools) and not enough standardisation. Does this sound familiar? It certainly does from my experience at the coal face!

Anyway, if you do not focus on your data quality at the front end via developing data literacy skills, gaining insights into your data can be made significantly more difficult – albeit, not impossible as nothing is impossible!

 

BIwide_0

Decision-making = data!

As time goes on, in the world of work and the world of parenthood, you tackle problems (= experience), learn more (= knowledge) and develop a gut feel for things (= intuition). Also, you amass more and more data (remembering GIGO)!

In the world of parenthood, with our new baby-tracking app, and by recording accurately the interactions we have with our son, making decisions about our son became second nature and significantly quicker. For example, it’s been a few hours since a last feed, but you aren’t sure as you’ve been for a (rare) nap. He’s crying and you think its feeding time (intuition/experience). Check the app, and yes, he’s overdue (data). Tah-dah – a data-informed decision but based on Intuition and experience.

That’s a lovely story Carl, but…

Matthew2

Yeah, okay, the example above is a simplistic view of data-informed decision, using a twee example of my newborn son. However, the core themes are incredibly relevant to UK businesses.

Simply put – do you know what your data is doing?

If you do, great, that’s fantastic. You will be making data-informed decisions daily and not wildly guessing or running on hunches. If you don’t, then perhaps it’s time to embrace digital transformation and data literacy and really get to know your data by deploying a business intelligence (BI) solution. Why not give TSG a shout? We’ve got years of experience with data literacy, data discovery, and deploying great business intelligence solutions from Power BI and the Microsoft stack to Qlik Sense, QlikView and Qlik NPrinting, from data sources as varied as Sage, NAV, and CRM to MS Excel, Google Analytics and bespoke REST APIs.

Shine a light on your data – do you know what it’s doing? A simple question which we can help you answer, but with massive repercussions!

*The answer is always yes.

**The not safe for work version of this is SISO…

***

The above article was originally posted on my employers blog – see here

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