It’s Time to Rethink Data Analytics: How to Get from Analysis to Actionable Information
ERPs, Big Data, i4.0 (ie, connecting direct to machines), MRPs, MESs, spreadsheets and other data sources are running your various departments. All of these have advanced to hold greater capacities of data, however, few, if any, have advanced in connecting your data. Manufacturers have added processes, certifications and new capabilities but what hasn’t kept up is the ability to operate off of one source of truth– one place to go to get company-wide insights.
Many of the above data sources have built in “dashboards” that you cannot customize nor tie in outside data, thereby forcing you to make decisions in a vacuum of what you are currently viewing. They are convoluted and disparate systems that each require unique knowledge from those on your team, only to run the risk that there is a lack of data access or quality.
The fire at hand gets your attention and takes priority, thereby the database that relates to that fire will be utilized. There are alternatives, however; you CAN connect all of your data together to obtain insights in one location, it takes 5 steps:
- Identify all data sources - this is more difficult than it seems, you will need to consider spreadsheets, emails, even verbal conversations and handwritten notes, in conjunction with the more commonly thought of data sources such as your ERP, HRIS, MES, etc.
- Create a data lake to connect your data - this will essentially put your data in one spot, better preparing you for step #3.
- ETL - stands for Extract, Transform, Load. That means once your data lake is created, you can transform the data to prepare it for step #4. High level speaking, transforming your data can encompass cleaning, deduping and formatting your data.
- Visualize your data - create stunning dashboards to build one source of truth where you can access all of your insights in one location, whenever and wherever you need to. No more using only the data source connected to the most recent fire. Keep an eye on all of the important facets of your business that are a priority while attacking the current fire.
- Focus on 3 core tenants - color theory, bottom half reporting and exceptions. Color theory should be used to force your focus on the items worth focusing on, not showing a rainbow of colors that forces you to burn brain calories to figure out what they mean. It shifts your perspective in a way that makes decision-making more seamless and intuitive. Bottom half reporting and exceptions refer to reducing what you are looking at to, again, reduce the brain calories needed to make decisions. These 3 core tenants will help you create stunning and, more importantly, actionable dashboards.
Gone are the days of dashboards that are not customizable, that merely use pie and bar charts, or show data in a tabular chart that is basically another spreadsheet within a dashboard software. Here are the days of having one source of truth that drives action and allows leaders to focus on exceptions, low hanging fruit AND profit generating opportunities–without constant energy repeatedly spent on what is seemingly the same issue.
Like any great advancement, these 5 steps take a dedicated leader to drive the ship and a crew that’s ready to support where it’s needed most. It may seem like a new territory with many unknowns, however taking it step by step will unlock your data destiny.
Think you have what it takes to transform your business?