The Data Value Process
Regardless of the company or the domain, at the start of every process lie questions that need answering. The answer will often be wrapped up in the data, which will need to be extracted, shaped and modelled before an answer can be derived. Through exploration and analysis we arrive at a result which needs to be communicated back to the business and digested. This is what is known as an iterative process.
The more people know, the more questions they have. The business intelligence gained along the way will harness one of a company’s greatest assets: it’s data. Insights are revealed which can drive the business forward and bring strategic value. It is speed to insight and not speed to opinion.
So you may want to:-
- identify new sales growth areas
- gain insights into your customers to drive profitability
- attract and attain top talent
- …insert your question here…
…except you may not have the data, reports, capability or capacity to answer any of these questions, which leads directly to:-
- lost time and speed
- costly opinion-based decisions
- perhaps lost talent
Your conventional approach is going to cost you, and the worst thing is that you actually know it. Research shows that 80% of companies would like to become self-reliant, yet only 8% are, when it comes to producing meaningful reporting and insights.
What does that mean exactly? Well, what are you doing at the moment?
- are you asking IT to provide a report or data?
- then waiting days or weeks to receive it in Excel format?
- then realise that they may have misunderstood as they do not have the domain knowledge, or that you now have another question, and so…
- you make another request to IT to enrich this data or report…
- which then finds its way back into the reporting funnel…
- but unfortunately your CEO has requested a report which now has priority…
- and your request is at the back of this report factory queue…
- then you finally receive your report but it is too late as conditions have changed or the opportunity has passed
You know exactly what the above is, as you experience it all the time in all its frustrations. Surely there is a way that IT can curate the data and empower the end users to become self-reliant? This simple question, if answered, will achieve a couple of things very quickly: –
- End users are enabled and empowered to produce value directly back to the business at the coal face
- IT can do what they do best and support the business functions in real time with curated, well-governed data and systems
Top performing companies:-
- are five times more likely to be data driven
- improve productivity by 5% and profitability by 6%
Unfortunately, most companies either do not have the capability or the capacity to confront the elephant in the room; their isolated and unreliable data.
The Data Value Process, which is the nirvana that all companies would like to attain and have culturally ingrained, is not only achievable, but can actually be realised:-
- simply – by following a well-trodden and successful path
- organically – you and your employees are directly empowered
- cost effectively – the capacity or capability can be leveraged through a trusted and very experienced partner while knowledge transfer takes place
The simple process is:
- you ask an interesting question
- you get the data relevant to your question
- you explore the data
- you model the data
- you communicate and visualise your result
Most organisations feel that they make data-backed decisions and if they don’t, they would like to. However, ask a few pointed questions about the quality of the data and they soon realise that they operate on opinion rather than fact and that their data is unreliable. Start discussing data security and the subject is changed even faster. All companies know that their data is probably the single most important tool for confident decision making and strategy. Perception will give you a well-trodden, simple way to have absolute confidence in your data and its dissemination to a curated self service environment.
Perception will take you by the hand and lead you confidently into this approach of self reliant insight so that you can forever discard costly opinions and de-risk your business at all levels.
Our Approach – Agile by Perception
Methodology that brings the cultural change
Agile is the process by which Perception transfer what we design and build for you into cultural adoption and best practices. We use Agile as our Extract, Transform and Load (ETL), development and dashboard development process and then manage the process within JIRA, which is an Agile Software Management Tool.
The below Agile Methodology by Perception has been tried and tested in multiple organisations spanning numerous data, dashboard development, application development, ETL or the full gamut of services we provide and is of course only an example of how we process out what we do.
We realise that each department, company and organisation is different and so this methodology enables and encourages organic cultural adoption as it incorporates and collaborates naturally with the end user in mind.
This user adoption is critical in ensuring that your project is
- Actually used by those it is meant to enable
Perception use the Agile Methodology across all our development offerings.
- Adopting Agile as the approach to your development project would achieve two core objectives:-
- Get new products in the hands of the stakeholders = quick wins referred to as Minimum Viable Products (MVP) or even Proof of Concept (POC)
- Showcase Agile as the preferred best practice for BI development methodology from data source to communication and visualisation.
- In order to gain a better appreciation and detail of your project so as to plan out effort, timelines etc. Perception would:-
- Conduct Agile Workshops
- Document the effort required accordingly within Jira
The four stages of the approach are listed below:
1 – Agile Workshop – requirements gathering where we focus on the following activities;
- Review current report production or data processes; where the data comes from, what shape is the data in, how its stored, who it is sent to, who consumes the report etc.
- Review actual current outputs produced
- Review customer/user feedback & requirements identified
- Brainstorm with the data available – what are the reporting/analytical outputs that customers/users would want and require
- If data – what shape is the data in and will it provide efficient and insightful queries or do we need to transform and provide data munging.
- If reports – all reports identified would go into an “Agile backlog” where they are sized & prioritised
- Prioritised items are then placed on a “Sprint roadmap” – each Sprint being one to two weeks in effort
- The Agile Workshop output would be a roadmap of 3-4 Sprints ahead of work to be achieved
- Resource requirements can then be identified and gaps in capacity and capability addressed
- All Backlog & Sprint detail is tracked using Jira
- Once the Sprint workload has been approved and resources agreed the Sprint Planning & Development phases would begin
2 – Lifecycle Planning Process
1 week before Sprint is due to start, the assigned development team (That’s You + Perception) hold a Sprint Planning Session to agree the following:
- Sprint Outputs
- Sub tasks to be delivered during the Sprint to achieve these goals
- Data sources required to achieve the goals
The Jira Sprint detail is then also updated.
3 – Sprint Development
From our initial review session, we would see the following activities being covered during any chosen area of focus.
Working from Right to Left:
- If reports – Dashboard Development:
- Something visual, insightful and intuitive for end users
- If Data – Data Model/database development – simple structure for the specific subject area
- Automated Data Collection, Automatic Data Extraction, Transformation & Modelling (ETL) of data from source systems
…Of course – for Minimum Viable Product (MVP) the ETL process could be deemed out of scope, this would be decided at Sprint planning. i.e. refer to the BI roadmap in regards to ETL of current data sources and subsequent dashboard development
4 – Post Sprint Review
Once a Sprint is completed, two core activities will take place:
- Sprint Show & Tell – Development team present back to stakeholders the outputs of the sprint
- Sprint Retrospective – Internal Development meeting to understand what worked well/didn’t work in the Sprint and agree changes for next Sprint
- Convert all iteration and changes to next Agile Sprint backlog
Rinse | Wash | Repeat
Perception has developed and distilled our product offerings to provide support and services that can be adapted for every company. We know how. You can too.