Pile of Files

Turn Data into Information with Info-Explorer

Fri, 04 Sep 2020

A Harvard Business Review (HBR) article called “What’s Your Data Strategy?” attracted our interest. As the authors put it:

Data was once critical to only a few back-office processes, such as payroll and accounting. Today it is central to any business…

It’s not that data has changed that much. What has evolved is our ability to turn data into information. For an elegant explanation of the difference they turn to influential business thinker Peter Drucker’s quote:

Information is data endowed with relevance and purpose.

Do these points ring bells - maybe even alarm bells – for you?

While the focus of the HBR authors’ research was large corporations, many of the points they made seem equally valid to smaller businesses. These findings from their cross-industry studies certainly rang true for us:

  • Less than half of an organization’s structured data is actively used in making decisions
  • More than 70% of employees have access to data they should not
  • 80% of analysts’ time is spent simply discovering and preparing data
  • Data breaches are common
  • Rogue data sets propagate in silos
  • Companies’ data technology often isn’t up to the demands put on it

The article goes on to discuss data strategies in depth, breaking them down into these categories, which both have critical but different roles to play:

Defensive Data Strategy:

  • Focusing on data security, integrity, privacy, compliance etc.
  • An authoritative “Single Source of Truth” for all core data

Offensive Data Strategy:

  • Focusing on improved competitiveness and profitability
  • “Multiple Versions of the Truth”, where the same data can be viewed, analysed and interpreted from different perspectives

Turn Defence into Attack with Orchid’s Info-Explorer

The HBR authors promote a hybrid of defensive and offensive strategies, one where data can be tightly controlled, but flexibly used.

To us, that sounds a lot like Info-Explorer, Orchid’s powerful yet affordable BI tool. Here are just some of the ways Info-Explorer can mitigate many of the issues outlined in the HBR article:

  • Make more of your organization’s data available to decision-makers: Pull current data from Sage 300, and other core databases, into an Info-Explorer cube
  • One Source of Truth: No need for offline reporting repositories and information silos
  • Control access to data: You choose which raw data to bring into your cube, and who you distribute it to
  • Skip preparation, go straight to analysis: Design your cube once, then use Orchid Process Scheduler to regularly refresh and distribute it
  • Multiple Versions of Truth: Individual users can slice & dice the cube in different ways, providing tailored views to meet their different needs

Latest

Python
“Unstoppable” Python overtakes Java
Tue, 17 Nov 2020
The TIOBE Index for November 2020 reports yet another milestone in the inexorable rise of Python, the scripting language used by Orchid Extender.