7/18/2012

Clarify Your Data

Describe what chicken tastes like?

Well, it tastes like, well, it tastes like chicken.

Huh?  Can you define it in more detail?

Well, it's a meat, which can be cooked in a variety of ways, best when tender, has a slight aftertastes and is best eaten warm.  It's similar to steak but less like fish.

Oh, okay.  So in describing 'chicken' you must reference other measures in context to describe what it actually is.  You can indicate it's similarities and / or differences to other known items.

Now can you tell me what the sales for last quarter look like?

Good.


Good compared to what?


Well, compare to 2 years ago, it's higher in volume and revenue. Same with last year.  Except the 1st and 3rd quarter were down compared to 2nd and 4th.  The NorthEast region looked strong in the 2nd half of the year.  It looks like SoutWest did not make its numbers.  However, we met our key performance indicator in 8 out of 10 areas.  We need to focus on consistent sales for every quarter paying particular attenion to the SW region and 1st and 3rd quarters.  And do more research to find out why this is the case.

Ah, so you can describe your data by comparing time intervals, KPI's and locations.

Precicely the goal of Business Intelligence.  Analize the data, by comparing and contrasting figures across different dimensions to produce a logicial provable conclusion in order to base actionable decisions on the future.

Thank you.

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