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BLOG: The wisdom of zebras and giraffes

Terry Smagh | March 21, 2013
How to create a data-based decision-making culture

-          With encouragement from the top, a culture prone to territorialism can turn to openness.

-          A willingness to take on responsibility at all levels of the organisation begins with giving people easy-to-use and -understand tools that let them discover the data they need to do their job and communicate answers up to senior management with effective collaboration and visualisation tools. Traditional BI tools do not allow this, as they are focused on reporting with inflexible predefined queries, and require serious skills to operate.

-          Fears about data security and integrity often hamper efforts to spread the power of analytics throughout the organisation. But people who object to that perhaps don't appreciate how widespread distribution and alteration of spreadsheet-based data is. It is important to note that business discovery tools using an app model don't allow changing of source data, only additions - which, if incorrect, only affects that user. And unlike spreadsheets, apps are automatically updated when source data is updated or corrected via administrative intervention. In addition, the app model provides extra data protection in the form of rights-based access as well as other data security and -integrity measures.

Start small

The advice we usually give is to start small with business discovery tools that deliver quick results within a department or even workgroup, and to take it from there.

When the penny drops, it will be clear that there is no going back from a fact-based decision-making culture in which a far greater percentage of the organisation shares.

If information is power, getting rid of personal information fiefdoms by empowering a larger base of decision-makers will both allow better quality decisions and result in a more engaged workforce, enjoying greater responsibility, clout and happiness in the workplace.

Terry Smagh is vice president, South East North Asia, QlikView 


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