Master Data Management

Jock Mackinlay (Global) - Turning Everyday Workers into Data Rock Stars

Data is an invaluable asset. It can tell a business the average number of complaint calls the customer services team gets before it loses a client; what time of day the company makes the most significant sales, or highlight the most successful marketing campaigns by click through rates or incoming calls. Data is one of the most important assets to any business, but it all depends on how it is viewed and accessed by employees. The only wrong way to look at data is to assume it is only for the tech geeks in the IT department. Quite the opposite - data is for everyone!

Data is everywhere and in large volumes, resulting in cliquey industry terms such as ‘Big Data'. Banks, shops, restaurants, hospitals, game developers - from start-ups to enterprises - all have an incredible amount of information to process, categorise, evaluate and present to multiple audiences. This expensive process, which is often overlooked, has been revolutionised with a new breed of fast, intuitive business intelligence tools. In the same way that road signs are sending universal signals, these new tools make visualising information simple for marketing, sales, development or customer services departments, ensuring it is easy to digest and ultimately, act on.

Currently, many workers have access to raw data but it means little to them. It's a sad truth that in business today making sense of data is reserved for the more technically minded, rather than the young, creative marketing team or fast-moving sales guys. However, if interpreted properly, this data can reveal products being sold at the wrong price, a market trend, or an area that is losing money for the company in just a few clicks.

Visual analytics can aid understanding of data in a fraction of the time it would take to scroll through, digest, segment and present it if it was in a spreadsheet or database. With the new breed of data analytics software, a simple drag and drop will present data in a format that makes it easy to view and digest. Data visualisation is breeding a new generation of Data Analysts and they look just like you!

Visualisation appeals to the human brain, because it follows the pattern of how we most naturally process information that we receive. By making information instantly recognisable and easy to manipulate, the various functions within a business, from marketing and finance, through to the CEO and even sales can use the same data and interact with it in different ways.

Data visualisation allows each department to manipulate large amounts of information into an instantly relevant and recognisable format with no additional skill set required. Marketing, sales, finance, and customer service can all use the data already available to find out, in detail, what is working, where it is working and when it works best.

A tool that is valuable and simple enough for each department, data analytics is fast becoming a no brainer. Far from being a complicated tool for tech geeks, data analysis is a tool that is valuable for each department. There's a data rock star in all of us!

By Jock Mackinlay, Director of Visual Analysis, Tableau Software



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