Like any good SAS employee, I monitor the social Web for conversations about analytics. Not that I’m an analytics geek – far from it. As a lifelong writer and marcomms veteran, the quants view me as about as comprehensible (and as substantial) as navel lint.
It’s for precisely that reason that I look for articles and conversations that address analytics, particularly business analytics, in ways that everyday people can understand. Whether you’re a consumer, business owner, bureaucrat, board member or investor, analytics affects your success.
So I giggled with glee when I stumbled on this new blog from down under. Oz Analytics , by Business Intelligence expert Steve Bennett (note to Steve – I had a very tough time finding your bio and business info on the blog. Would love to know more), is one of those gems. Steve writes in very down-to-earth terms about such lofty concerns as data quality (how to convince the big guys that it matters), web analytics, social networking, information as an asset (and a living one, at that), all with lots of graphs, grams and visualizations. I actually understand what he says.
But here’s my favorite – because it gets at what undermines effective business practice at every size, every level, every industry. The post, 10 Signs that You Need Analytics pinpoints the insider pains (we’re not even talking about the money dumped on poorly targeted campaigns or misguided loan policies – just the day-to-day little cuts) caused by lack of effective analytics. I guess it’s the flip side of SAS’ “This is your life" video from last year. Here are Steve’s top 10:
1. You have to wait longer than a day for either IT or your business intelligence department to make/change a report for you.
2. Across the organisation there are more than 100 requests pending for reporting /dashboard /scorecard changes waiting for a specialist to deliver them.
3. When you attend meetings, there are multiple numbers being quoted for the same thing – and you don't know which of them is correct.
4. When you talk about fundamental things like transaction, account, balance or available stock – and you discover that the person you are talking to is using the same words but means something different to what you mean.
5. You can't get an instantly understanding when glancing at a report/dashboard/scorecard and what it is telling you.
6. The commentary is larger than the automatically generated report.
7. The report is not generated automatically but is a handcrafted labour of love by either yourself or one of your staff, or you spend hours trying to locate the right data and then have to consolidate it manually into Excel.
8. It takes longer than 5 minutes to view a new report.
9. You can't access the report when and where you most need it.
10. There are hundreds of reports available to you but you don't trust them and you spend time trying to manually validate key numbers.
Anything look familiar to you? Go read Steve's entire post, which includes his definition of analytics.