Chasing rainbows

It cropped up again last week; the dreaded statement from a BI professional

We must have a single version of the truth…

Anyone working in IT / BI / decision support / enterprise reporting / analytics etc. for more than a couple of months will have heard this, and for those of us working in the field for 20+ years we may wince slightly and wish that we had a pound for every time…
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In praise of *unactionable* insight

One of the most common requests from my clients is for Actionable Insight; a desire to receive simple, understandable output from analytical activity which provides a clear indication for what they should do. As a request it’s entirely understandable, reasonable and a great focus for the majority of analysis; after all, analysis is most valuable when it directs action and results in improvement. There are, however, two clear cases when the desire for Actionable Insight oversteps the mark and misses the point:
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Managing by Averages… of Averages

Much of my visual analysis is performed to help large companies – usually retailers and their suppliers – to better understand a perplexing problem or opportunity in their organisation. How can we reduce waste in our stores? Which promotions drive the desired behaviour in customers and why? What effect does non-delivery at depot have on availability in store? What’s the optimum product range for our biscuits category? etc.

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Why Data Animators?

Data is often perceived as dry, remote, and impersonal – even when it relates to customers, citizens, or friends and family. In the information age, an ever-growing stream of data is stored as digital bits in shapeless clouds of computer storage, processed by a million algorithms which divine our preferences for movies, holidays, and foodstuffs. It’s easy to feel that data has no direct relevance to any one of us and yet…

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