Your relationship with your data can be a lot like a love affair.
At first there’s so much excitement about the insights you might glean spending a lot of time together. Every table and chart feels exciting, and the future is filled with promise. But too often that excitement begins to fade as you get bogged down in incomplete information, old data and spreadsheets with unholy numbers of rows.
Of course, with any relationship, there are always clues that your significant other might be…wandering. Your critical business information is no different. Here are five warning signs that your data might be cheating on you:
#1 – It’s showing up late—There are few things more frustrating than a loved one who constantly arrives late for important relationship events, like dinner with the parents, your engagement party, or your wedding. Slow, infrequent or stale data can be just as irritating. If your key business metrics are always late or out of date, you run the risk of making some very bad choices. Not every piece of data needs to be refreshed every second of the day, but as a general rule, the more timely the data is, the more valuable it is.
#2 – You’re data is giving you the runaround—Everyone enjoys a little game of “hard to get.” But when hard to get becomes impossible to get, people tend to get upset. The same is true of data. If your critical information resides in dozens of places—business intelligence tools, applications, spreadsheets, emails, etc.—you’re probably spending too much time chasing and not enough time getting. Ultimately, data should work for you, not the other way around.
#3 – You’re living in the past—People have a tough time letting go. But a successful relationship is about moving forward. You and your data are no different. In your relationship together, you have to find new ways to measure and improve your performance. For instance, there’s no reason to rely solely on slow, patchy feedback mechanisms like customer surveys to gauge client satisfaction when there’s a wealth of immediate feedback on Twitter and Facebook. Effective measures must evolve with the business.
#4 – Communication breaks down—Honest and open communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, and a breakdown in communication is usually one of the first signs of a major relationship problem. Similarly, if an organization or department has a habit of spinning or massaging data before it goes up to the executive ranks or out to the public, trouble can’t be far behind. For a healthy and productive data relationship, honest communication in the form of direct and unfiltered access to the information that matters most is a must.
#5 – There’s just no spark—Even if you do everything right, if there’s no magic, a relationship is doomed to fail. Data needs a wow factor as well. Just like a hot new look can make the sparks fly anew, visualizing data dramatically improves the insight you’re able to glean from it, according to research from TDWI. And that advantage is even more pronounced when the visualization is rich and interactive, beyond just simple charts and graphs.
So what can you do if you’re seeing the signs?
Suffice it to say this is one relationship Dr. Phil can’t mend. Instead, you could start by downloading the complete executive brief “Is Your Data Cheating on You? Five Signs You and Your Data are Growing Apart,” created by business intelligence innovator Domo. It not only offers a more in-depth discussion of each of these data-relationship red flags, but it also provides some guidance on finding the “magic” once again.
Download the executive brief today and let us know any experiences you’ve had with “cheating data.”
NOTE: A form completion is required to download this executive brief.