Is the data clean enough to give us meaning? If you are one of those who insist that the war on dirty data must be won first, forgive me. I’m tired of that conversation. It sounds like backyard mechanics comparing fuel injectors when all that really matters is the commute.
Archives for April 2008
I’ve almost got too much good stuff for my story in BI This Week about offbeat metrics. Stacey Barr, “the performance measure specialist” in Australia and Zach Gemignani at Juice Analytics in North Carolina both came through with insight-provoking cases.
Zach calls metrics for those hard-to-reach places where bookkeepers don’t go “franken-measures.” Stacey calls them “proxy measures.” By whatever name we call them, Zach and Stacey came up with good mini-cases.
A friend who’s deep in the financial applications world goes into a lot of sales presentations intending to buy something. But he complains to his wife later, “About 30 seconds into it, I just about couldn’t keep my eyes open.”
Once in a while, though, some salesperson tells a story. Then it sticks. Then he can overlay the story onto the product’s features. Then it’s real. What a relief.
If you want to come up with effective metrics, forget brainstorming. Drop the creativity. Done well, this is an analytical exercise, says Stacey Barr, and it should aim at deriving concrete, sensory effects to measure.
Three years ago, I spent four months in my Sicilian grandmother’s home town editing a book I had begun to hate. Time cues were sparse: church bells four times an hour, a nearby friend who dropped in for coffee once a day, and cannoli once a week. I could easily come to the end of a week without having made a single edit. So I built myself a timekeeper in FileMaker Pro.
At first, the dismal results came in every day: When I felt that I had put in a good five or six hours of steady work, the end-of-day tally—with all the breaks for email, meals, snacks, and quick walks—usually amounted to about two hours of actual work.
That’s what got me thinking. Who says one-person operations can’t use business intelligence?