Data Rich but Information Poor

Data Rich Information Poor

Whatever you do creates data.  Be it a digital footprint, a card purchase, a sale registered on your loyalty card, walking through a store door, sending an email, registering for a newsletter/blog or even normal sales and invoice data.  However, from a companies perspective how many of these ‘data sources’ are utilised properly?

Now just stand there and think about how many reports you get.  What about your bank statement?  That is a summary of data of inflows and outflows from your account.  What about accountancy reports say a  “30 day debtors or creditors report” a balance sheet or a trial balance.

All these are reports from data that is collected in someway.

Now take a step back.

  • Think of what DATA is there?
  • Ask people if its there?
  • Does it exist?
  • If it doesn’t then can we get it?
  • If it does has the data being validated?
  • What formats can it come in?
  • Has it been used before and if so what was it used for?


Data Investigation

I remember a conversation with a client who wanted to adapt the sales incentive scheme to encourage customer migration to online channels (not for sales but servicing).  We knew that the e-channel registration figures were available but was complimentary data available which would allow us to identify who actioned the registration.

Once this data was available and turned into information we could then not only reward the customer service agent, but also the shop, the shop manager, the district manager, the division manager and so on.

In this case the complimentary data wasn’t available at the granularity we needed.

The point was someone has dared think of an idea and we investigated it.


So the challenge that I am setting you is have a think of what information is missing from your reports?  Back track a little further and see whether the data to generate the information is available?  See who owns that data? Is there a cost?  Can you bribe the internal owner with coffee or chocolate?

What about bringing in benchmarks?  There are plenty of third party sources in most sectors which you can bring in (or do benchmarking exercises within product categories, other group brands and so on).  These can be used as targets or alongside targets.  We’ll write more about benchmarking and targets in a later post.


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