Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

A company implements a new software tool. It is a big decision that touches every aspect of the business. There was always going to be compromises, but everyone has their own gripe with the new system. Each team finds a novel way to get around it, using their own bespoke tools and processes, with the data eventually fed back in manually by Bo Joggs, the data master (not your average Joe). It’s an inefficient and messy operation. Perhaps Bo leaves for more data-friendly pastures, and then everyone is really stuck.

This is a too-familiar picture. Even a master craftsperson relies on a box of tools designed for different unique functions, not one big spanner to make everything work.

A big mistake a teams and decision-makers can make in the world of data is to search for “The Answer” – one product that will resolve every challenge. Much better to replace micromanagement and large software products, with micro-services and mosaic computing. This may mean choosing different tools, which are appropriate to each team or user, yet flexible enough to connect and form the picture required by the company as a whole.

Often the problems of how everything fits together is tackled by looking at the glue, and not the components. Much better to look for systems that organise everyone’s tools and present the results back to the business. Problems in the real world aren’t fixed by creating the same problems in the digital world, they’re solved by looking at them through a different lens, and using different, smaller, tools for different jobs.

Software and reporting is easier to create than ever. When innumerable data solutions are available, don’t tie yourself down. When designing the system for your teams to work to, add flexibility. Ultimately, it will give you empowered teams, higher quality reporting, and better decision making.

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