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In today's fast-paced business landscape, data is a powerful asset. It's the key to making informed decisions, understanding your organization's performance, and staying ahead of the competition. But, harnessing the full potential of data requires more than just collecting numbers; it involves a process known as Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Transformation. At Shift, we understand the importance of identifying the right metrics, visualizing data effectively, and using this information to drive success. In this blog post, we will explore how the journey towards Business Intelligence and Data Transformation begins and the crucial steps involved.

Identifying the Necessary Metrics

There’s no such thing as perfect data but there is data that will effectively show business impact. Identifying the metrics to track this business impact within an organization is critical. It's the gateway to providing key intelligence about how a business operates and helping stakeholders make sound decisions. But what exactly are the 'right' metrics? To answer this question, Shift encourages its clients to ponder a few critical points.

  • Imagine you're halfway across the world trying to run your business. What are the three essential metrics you'd need? This scenario serves as a thought-provoking exercise. It compels stakeholders to pinpoint the metrics that are truly indispensable for their business's survival. The answers to this question can vary significantly among stakeholders, leading to collective discussions that can unveil valuable insights.
  • It's also crucial to ask what an organization is currently lacking visibility into — what are they missing to make decisions or an impact? Identifying blind spots can be an eye-opening experience. By understanding what information is missing from the decision-making process, organizations can start filling in these gaps with relevant metrics and data.

Metrics: The Building Blocks of Business Intelligence

Once the right questions are asked and essential metrics are identified, the next step is to delve deeper into these numbers. Metrics are the lifeblood of BI, but its true value isn't always apparent. To extract meaningful insights, Shift has developed a template of questions designed to unveil the full potential of each metric.

  • What do we want to know? Start by defining the purpose of the metric. What specific information does it aim to provide?
  • What decisions/actions will we take with this information? Understanding the intended use of the metric is vital. How will it guide decision-making and strategy? If this metric is red, how will you respond?
  • Who in the organization is interested in this information? Identify the key stakeholders and teams that can benefit from this metric.
  • Who needs to have access to this information? Access control is important. Determine who should have access to this data to ensure it remains secure and relevant.
  • What thresholds exist for this information? Define clear thresholds that indicate whether the metric is performing as expected, needs attention, or is in a critical state. For example, some businesses use green, yellow, red to clearly indicate this.
  • Where is the data that is needed for this information? Locate the sources of data that contribute to the metric. This step is essential for data collection and transformation.

By answering these questions, organizations can create a clear path for developing a visualization of the requested metric — what tool is best to use, who needs access and how are we effectively displaying this data to quickly make business decisions. It not only ensures that the metric is valuable but also sets the stage for effective data transformation.

Dashboards and Tools: Real-time Decision-Making

We love ourselves a good dashboard. Visualizing metrics is a fundamental aspect of BI, and the ultimate goal is to create web-based interactive dashboards. Tools like Microsoft's PowerBI and AWS QuickSight enable stakeholders to access business intelligence metrics in real-time, eliminating the need to wait for reports. This accelerates decision-making and empowers organizations to respond swiftly to changing circumstances. The key to architecting data is to keep it simple and easy to navigate.

So now what?

In conclusion, Business Intelligence and Data Transformation are the driving forces behind informed decision-making and organizational success. By identifying the right metrics, asking essential questions, being good listeners and visualizing data effectively, organizations can leverage their data assets to thrive in an increasingly competitive business landscape.

At Shift, we are committed to helping our clients navigate this journey and unlock the true potential of their data. In collaborative workshops with our clients, we guide them and get them thinking about how they can effectively use data to improve their business. It doesn’t have to be complex, perfect data is not the goal and we’re here to listen. We’ve got your back.

Want to learn more about how we navigate these conversations? Reach out today.

This article was written by Mackenzie Ostrem, VP Client Services