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Analytics, Say What?

I was in a company meeting when a sales manager presented a Powerpoint slide like the following and proudly proclaimed, “the sales trend is up:”PowerPoint Slide 1

Technically, he was right.   A trend line between the two data points was up, and the discussion moved on from the perspective that things in sales were going well.  Since the purpose of the meeting was to raise morale, this “analysis” of the data served its purpose.

However, the sales numbers for 5 periods looked more like the following:Imagine the direction the discussion might have taken given this perspective!

I’m using this simplified example of how data is “analyzed” in the enterprise because when it comes to the new world of analytics, not enough emphasis is placed on managing the presentation and interpretation of the data.

I am a big proponent of Data Governance and the emphasis on the quality, ownership, understanding, and representation of corporate data.   I think we need the same rigor around “Analytics Governance”.   The problem will be how to educate users and enforce standards without stifling curiosity and creativity.  It won’t be easy.

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