Recently one of us (Tor Inge) was speaking at a Business Intelligence conference in Germany. It was a big event with hundreds of vendors and thousands of attendees. What became apparent after sitting through several keynotes is that most presenters considered data to be the “holy grail” of business success. “The knowledge and power are in the data,” read one of the slides. As a strategy execution advocate, Tor Inge presented a different view.
He opened his presentation by sharing an insight from a book called Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t written by Jim Collins. When Collins researched what made some companies “world-class,” he learned the following:
“We found no evidence that good-to-great companies had more or better information than the comparison companies. None.”
The room fell silent. It was at that moment when Tor Inge felt as if everyone in the room was about to throw their hefty conference binders at him. How dare he question the importance of data! Please don’t misunderstand us; collecting data is essential for any organization. It is the means of measuring performance and making informed decisions. The point that Tor Inge was trying to make is that more data does not equal more business success.
more data ≠ more business success
With that in mind, allow us to adjust the statement from the conference slide: “There is knowledge in the data, the power is in what you do with it.” Most business intelligence (BI) tools are built to collect data; however, they fall short in putting your data to work. If you’re looking to use your data in a way that drives your business forward, a business management software will be a better choice for you.