Improving business, with the help of technology, is what I live and breathe every day. Where I really get excited is when technology helps an individual, team, organisation perform better because they do their job better, are able to get good insight, and make a better decision.
To make a better decision at work, we need access to the right information. We can then use that information in combination with our innate capability we are born with to analyse. Simple. Not so.
We naturally analyse all the time. Here’s a very simple example: we cross the road. We observe, question then decide. We buy a new TV. Before we analyse information, ask different questions, and decide what’s best for us. We are good at this. Even from a young age. I know. We didn’t always make the best decisions. But there was a process, questions and information or observation behind it. Traditionally at work though, this is so much harder to achieve. And complicated.
Traditionally technology (in here I mix lots of aspects of technology – infrastructure, data, application software of all types, access, hardware) has put up barriers to prevent us being able to analyse or interact with business information in our natural way.
You know when you know something, but can’t quite explain it in a fluid way? It’s in your ‘cognitive peripheral’. I had awareness of the above, but it wasn’t until I listened to a presentation from Donald Farmer from Qlik that it all sat very nicely. He’s very interesting and has a lovely, simple way of explaining. I recommend you listen to him talk about Natural Analytics.
The barriers include not just being able to access data. It extends to it being difficult to look at the data. Then for that data to be in an format to, not only answer multiple questions, but questions we hadn’t thought of yet. And then make that repeatable. And forward looking. That is, not just looking at what we’ve done, but what are we going to do?
This has been the nature of the beast for a long time.
We are now in the fortunate position where the discovery of business data is easier than ever for anyone in an organisation. There are many technical advancements in various layers of technology that contribute to this. My focus though, is how we interact with the information. Now the better solutions support your natural capability to analyse, ask questions, judge and decide. I think the key is we can finally ask different questions. We might start with a set business question, but beyond this first answer we naturally will think of other questions we want answered. Questions which potentially will make a significant difference to an organisation.
People will add more to their organisation if they apply the same inquisitive process to business data exploration that comes so naturally in everyday life. And when I say ‘people’, I don’t just mean executives and senior managers. I mean any person that can influence the outputs and objectives of an organisation.
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