As we approach the end of February it seems like 2015 could be the year where the backlash starts against Big Data. I’ve seen numerous articles this year. including this one from InformationWeek, this one from ZDNet and this one from Quartz – ouch!, which paint a less rosy picture of the value of Big Data and, in fact, Big Data in general.
It’s that time of year again where the stars put on their nicest frocks and cross their fingers that they’ll bag the ultimate award – an Oscar. It’s the premier award ceremony and it’s watched by millions worldwide.
But what’s it got to do with business intelligence dashboards?
I’ve never bought into the line that “we’re all analysts today”, touted by many Data Discovery vendors and some industry commentators.
Data Discovery has been great for the analysts in our organizations and has revolutionized the way they access, interact, and interpret data. However, I’ve always been more interested in serving the needs of the non-analysts.
This guest post is by Simon Musgrave, Managing Director and founder of Musgrave Analytics.Musgrave Analytics is a business analytics consultancy specializing in data analysis, economics and visualization. Simon previously ran Tribal Consulting’s Health Intelligence Unit and the Research and Evaluation team. Before Tribal he was a manager in KPMG’s business modelling team.
Our fundamental aim for an executive dashboard is to create something that makes data easy to grasp and absorb. Data and statistics are not most people’s natural language and yet the ability to understand the numbers is critical for people running or monitoring an organization.
People love visual calculators. We see them everywhere: loan calculators, savings and payback calculators, retirement calculators, home heating calculators, industrial capacity planning calculators, ROI calculators – the list is endless.
They are a great way of allowing people to set some input conditions using sliders, spinners or regular data entry fields and then explore how changes to the input values effect the desired output. These outputs or results are often shown graphically using charts or tables.
In a meeting last week one of our partners, Musgrave Analytics, mentioned something that caught my attention: people are afraid to deploy dashboards to business users until the data is perfect.
Although understandable, the problem with this approach is that it can paralyze dashboard and other business intelligence projects and result in a frustrated business community that lacks access to critical information.