Weights and Data Don’t Lie! My brother and I purchased our first weight set from a garage sale when I was in 3rd grade. He is 14 months younger than I so it worked out that we could start pumping iron together. It was a bit young to start lifting but we did it on and off for a few years. We grew up inner-city on the west side of South Bend, Indiana and working out helped us avoid getting beat on. When I entered 7th grade, I was a typical boy and didn’t comb my hair much, my mom got tired of it and gave me a perm – she was NOT a beautician. This is when I really started lifting as I got the nickname Shirley referring to Shirley Temple.
I learned early on that the weights never lied – either you could lift them or you couldn’t. You had to put in the right – time, effort, form, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. The weights would stay the same month after month and worse, you would stay the same size. I often think about the true aspect of weights and data when I work with businesses to formulate business and technology roadmaps. I am a “data freak” and I push hard into this all the time. I pose questions like:
- Where is the data?
- Who is updating it?
- Who is validating it for accuracy?
- How many version of the data are there?
- Are you rekeying the data in multiple places?
Inevitably there are multiple versions of the truth – meaning similar data but not accurate data. The result is duplicate tracking at a minimum. I usually hone in on this by determining how many excel spreadsheets are being kept and if financials end up in excel. This is bad for many reasons. The first is the effort it takes to update the spreadsheets vs. just gatekeeping and validating the data in a central or main system. Centralization and integration is a key, especially with all the tools that are out that allow you to analyze the data with very little effort. For The CFO’s of the world, getting the team out of duplicate entry as much as possible is super important. Getting team back into controls and analytical mode should be a target as businesses can make timelier and accurate decisions with the correct information presented the right way quickly.
There is no reason today NOT to have REAL-TIME data, reports and business insight on your business at your fingertips. Check out these quick FREE tools from Microsoft for Excel that arm you with analytical power you have never had, especially this easily.
- Power Map
- Power Business Intelligence for Excel
- Power Query (this one is longer but should open your eyes to possibilities)
It’s time to get out of manual mode of business. Automation of bad data will just give you bad results faster. Automate and put systems in place to centralize, integrate and maintain data accuracy. Below are some items you can start working on today to get ahead of this and run a better business.
- Inventory and get a count of excel spreadsheets being maintained
- Identify your data silos or where your data lives
- Identify the reports you look at regularly to make decisions – then find out how much time it takes to create them
- List 5 to 7 reports you would like to see on a daily basis that would help you run your business better. (These will be different per roles in the company)
- Determine how to get the data real-time on any device
- Get a gate-keeper that can keep the data accurate in one place and integrate the rest.
If you do the above, your quality of work-life will improve as well as the people around you. Remember accurate data and accurate weights don’t lie.
If you have questions, feel free to comment below.