Recently we have been working on a series of data projects that aim to create a framework model for a comprehensive understanding of digital customer engagement.
The focus of these have rightly been on ‘what matters’ rather than ‘what can we measure’ but despite this, the scale of data that is ‘in scope’ can still be considerable. At this stage it is then worth considering how data at scale can be marshalled to ensure that whoever engages with it finds it insightful.
Utility in digital measurement comes from understanding who needs what and in particular, the difference between those who need to work with the data and those who need to understand the data.
This creates a very different solution from a ‘data warehouse’. Unless your business has millions to invest in sophisticated reporting projects, these tend to support a ‘one-size fits all’ approach where a large pool of data is accessed through a reporting tool such as Tableau or Microsoft BI. The outcome is often either a single vision display encompassing one or more dashboards, or a set of standard reports plus an enquiry mechanic for a customised report. Often as a result, those who need data to work (unless their work is to report data) operate in the source applications and those who need to understand the data remain unenlightened as, whilst the data is available, what it may signify remains unclear.
Separating out user needs and tailoring solutions to meet requirements is a critical way forward if organisations are to become data-led rather than data-blind. To do this means thinking about people who need the data to make decisions, not people who need the data to report it to others. It will probably result in solutions being less elegant, a greater proliferation of reporting interfaces and the same data being used differently in different places. This may make many data architects shudder, but if this disaggregation enables significant gains in terms of data utilisation and the building of better insight into performance, then diversity should be embraced.
The big win in this approach is that those accountable for customer engagement can utilise solutions that feed smarter reporting tools such as 4Front. These don’t just aggregate numbers, but more importantly ensure that this data is accompanied with narratives that deliver insight to those who need to understand business performance and where to focus their time in their quest to improve it.