Dynamics Matters Podcast: Ep 72 - If you want value from your data, then you need to do this ...

With special guest Jonathan Markillie, Data & Analytics consultant, HSO

✔ How do you get senior management buy-in to data led projects?

✔ What business benefits can you get from better data insight?

✔ How do you ensure the data is fit for the audience you're presenting to?

Transcript

Welcome to episode 72 of the HSO Dynamics matters podcast.

Your regular sonic dive into the world of Microsoft technology related matters and much more besides.

I’m your host, Michael Lonnon, and this episode proves quite simply that regardless of the industry you work in, data plays a leading role in delivering insight and value.

And HSOs Data & Analytics consultant, Jonathan Markillie, reveals how you can take advantage of this insight. He also reveals the one thing you should never do once you invest in data and analytics tools.

So, grab a brew, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Michael Lonnon

Digital transformation or data transformation?

Jonathan Markillie

I think if you can nail digital transformation that makes data transformation, a hell of a lot easier, because one challenge we certainly had in previous organisations is getting people at senior levels more accustomed to using technology and in particular, certain tools like Power BI. People are very much used to old ways of doing things, having things printed out and using, you know, Excel, and things like, old technology. I think getting people using more modern technology and being more digital, in general, will help data transformation, because it enables buy in.

Michael Lonnon

We’re picking into buy in because that comes up time and again. How do you get other people, how do you get senior management, bought into data led projects? In your experience, what do you think is the best way to do that?

Jonathan Markillie

I think the best way is to sell the benefits of understanding more about the organisation. So, data can allow people to cut costs, it can identify problems very quickly and I think selling that is an important way to get people on board with the benefits.

Michael Lonnon

You’re not selling a data project are you, you’re selling the value of the data project at the end; you’re basically changing the vernacular.

Jonathan Markillie

Yeah, and I think people need to understand as well, at what level they should be, what level of granularity they should be looking at, because data for executives, the types of data they’ll be interested in is very different to, say, someone who’s looking after an operation. So, I think it’s not only selling the data is beneficial, but also what data is relevant to them. Otherwise, it can become scary, there’s almost too much data. In some ways there’s almost a danger of people having too much in front of them, I think people need to see the data that’s relevant to their role, to help them make decisions to move the organisation forward.

Michael Lonnon

We talk a lot about data management. And when you think about data, so much is coming into the organisation, it can spin your head, but, as you alluded to, it’s not about capturing everything, it’s about capturing the right things to deliver the right insight, isn’t it?

Jonathan Markillie

Yeah, and it’s almost positioning reporting so it’s at a level that makes it easy to make decisions. So, for instance, at a senior executive level, you want to see like high level KPIs, you don’t want to see too much detail, but you want to have enough information to see whether you’re on track or not. So, for instance, if you’ve a problem in a specific area, when I was in the NHS, the key KPIs we were looking at is wait times, things like that. So, you’d want to know, what are the high-level numbers, then you can start challenging throughout the organisation to help solve some of those key problems. Lower down they might have a more operational dashboard available that you can see in a bit more detail, maybe the reasons why someone went over that four-hour period, for example.

Michael Lonnon

I was going to ask you then, from your own NHS background when you were able to visualise the data, gather the insight that comes in from data, what were the benefits you were seeing? What changes did you affect because you now had this insight from data?

How to make your new Microsoft project a guaranteed success

In 10 minutes, this brochure shows you how to launch projects in the quickest possible time, resolve mistakes and mishaps, and keep your ongoing costs to the barest minimum.

How to make your new Microsoft project a guaranteed success

Jonathan Markillie

Having the data there in front of mind allowed people to quickly see where problems were occurring, and it allowed for corrective action to be implemented quite quickly, because the key KPIs were being identified and reported on and people reviewing on a regular basis. So, there is benefit reporting in that way

Michael Lonnon

You used to work at M&S, so I’ll be interested or find out from you, when you can see this insight that data is presenting you, what changes did it impact? What positive influences did it affect?

Jonathan Markillie

So having data in front of senior people allows people to quickly identify where odd things could be going on or issues could be occurring. So, for instance, absence was a big topic for M&S and by seeing absence statistics at a high level, senior leaders could quickly identify that a change in policy was required. So, the absence policy changed to start every April, they changed it to be a rolling 12 months, because what people found was that people were going off sick at the start of April when the absence would renew. So, it’s all about seeing where the potential things could be wrong about, certain policies, whether it’s processes that you have in place, things like that and this is what the power of data is, it’s identifying issues for people and then thinking about ways you can solve them.

Michael Lonnon

You recently created a little dashboard in Power BI that took publicly available data of a particular area in the country, and looked at the demographics there didn’t you what was it you called it?

Jonathan Markillie

Based on publicly available data, we created a report on deprivation. It included demographics, and also crime statistics and what it showed was a how deprivation changed throughout each area in a particular county. You could see where areas were most deprived and what the associated crime statistics were. So, for instance, you could see that certain types of assault went up in high levels of deprivation, whereas in low levels of deprivation, you can see car crime go up. There were patterns of behaviour when it comes to deprivation and crime, and it could allow organisations to target interventions based on those statistics.

Michael Lonnon

So, you start to realign resources to different things and the different actions, whether it’s M&S and you’re changing policies, whether it’s deprivation where you’re starting to change resource allocation, without that insight, you wouldn’t be able to do those things. Who do you think is responsible, ultimately, for the data, for managing data gathering, the Insight, making decisions, who is responsible?

Jonathan Markillie

I think leadership has to lead and create a culture of data. I think there’s a benefit because it fosters the entire organisation to want to get the numbers behind for making any decision to make sure it’s the right decision, and I think it can only be done by leadership and being digital throughout the organisation. And utilising modern technology is paramount to that, because the one danger I’ve seen in previous organisations is using modern technology, but using it in an old fashioned way. For instance, using Power BI reports and making them look like old Excel documents with tabular data

Michael Lonnon

Which defeats the objective of using it.

Jonathan Markillie

Yes. I think it’s encouraging people to be more modern in the way they use data and is definitely beneficial. So, targeting a report specific to an individual’s role and seeing the statistics that are relevant to them, instead of seeing a whole pool of tabular data. Because the issue is people ultimately find it hard to pull insight from a table whereas it’s much easier to pull insight from patterns and shapes based on visualisations.

Summary

Jonathan believes there are three things that need to happen before you can extract insight and value from your data.

The first is getting buy in from your leadership team, and then having them cascade the importance of data throughout the organisation, creating a data culture.

The second is that once you have the tools to capture data and drag insight from within, use these tools as they were made. Don’t turn them into glorified excel reports or note taking tools.

And finally, when gathering and presenting insight, make sure it’s fit for the audience you’re presenting it to. If you want the desired impact and response, align it to what they care about. Because, in the end, we’re all a little bit selfish aren’t we?

Thanks for listening, until next time, take care of yourselves.

Get more insight from HSO's Microsoft technology experts

Get in touch with HSOs Microsoft technology experts

By using this form you agree to the storage and processing of the data you provide, as indicated in our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe from sent messages at any time. Please review our privacy policy for more information on how to unsubscribe, our privacy practices and how we are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy.