Big Data is a big deal and rightly so. The possibilities of these datasets seem endless and offer opportunities to answer complex questions faster and better. We are even starting answer things we didn’t even know we had questions for. But for a few minutes, let’s consider why we need to collect more and more data. It is possible to count all data but is it possible that not all data counts?
In a previous job, I spent a lot of time implementing CRM systems. Usually involving migrating data from their old CRM system, into the new, latest, greatest and sparkly CRM tool. It was expected that this would solve all of the problems which existed in the old tool. But to start, we spent most of our time asking “Why do you need that field?” Or “Do you really need to capture that information?”. Their answer was usually “The Sales team (or some other team) needs that information for …”. After a quick survey of the old tool, we would find that most fields had little or no data. Or worse, the field was required and people typed rubbish because they had to enter something. The old system would contain loads of fields which the users didn’t know how to fill in and the new system was simple, to the point and all fields were used and used properly.
Now I spend a lot of time working on BI solutions and I am constantly asking customers why are you “counting that information” and “you want to chart that data?”.
Business Intelligence tools are great. CRM tools are fantastic. So is all your other technology. Don’t let it down with poor data. Collect lots of information if you can and get it to tell you a story and answer questions about your business. But think about the data you are recording and when you decide, make it count!