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Tips on making your data analytics work

Edmund Chua, Analytics Specialist, Logicalis Asia | April 23, 2015
Edmund Chua, Analytics Specialist at Logicalis Asia, crafts a best practice tips and how-to guide, based on his personal experience, on how one can go about developing a Business Intelligence report and the key to successful analytics.

Many will consider using commonly-used industry KPIs, best-practice KPIs or best-practice dashboards to present that data. This is an excellent idea provided that these KPIs fit the objectives of your business. It is not easy to find one-size-fits-all types of KPI, so go ahead to modify these best-practice KPIs or define new ones.

Once you have clarity on the information you need and how you want to view them, the next step is to decide where you can get the required data. Do your existing reports and dashboards provide this information, and where does their source data come from? Is that source reliable, or do you need to consider other sources? 

In many organisations, the same data can reside in different forms, places and formats. It is common to walk into meetings, wanting to discuss a common issue, only to find that they all have different figures for the same thing, due to different data sources. To avoid this confusion, you need to define a single source of truth for that data.

Identifying the business data and building the appropriate metrics for your report is critical. When developing your report, what is key is the ease with which to change the report or collect new raw data, and the speed at which you can extract this data. In traditional business intelligence, if there is a need to modify or build data-cubes, data flows and extraction logic, these could be quite complex and requires more time to get them right.

You may want to consider the tool being used to help you extract and present the data, and to support your analyses and decision-making. Done properly, they are excellent single source of truths for reliable reporting. It is common for some reports to lose their importance in priority or that these require changes due to new business requirements. 

The alternative here will be to go for data visualisation tools that will allow you to access the data directly to create the report. This approach is faster, but you need to ensure that everyone uses that single source of truth.

You may also want to consider using a unified data platform. Many organisations have multiple databases or data warehouses. A unified data platform links all these different databases to provide multiple views of the data (without modifying the actual data). This is a great way to enforce a single source of truth. You can define revenue as 'revenue' field from a specific database, and have this field appear in the unified data platform. When all reports are created based on the data on this unified data platform, the figures will be consistent across the myriad reports created by different users.

 

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