By Jen Stirrup, Data Relish

This article “Leverage Business Intelligence for better decisions” was originally published on Data Relish – click here to view.

How is it possible to move away from static reports to innovation with analytics and business intelligence with smarter decision making?

Organisations can find it hard to move towards analytics. Enterprises have become accustomed to static tables and reports. Many businesses are running the Red Queen’s data with their data; like Alice in Through the Looking Glass – running on the spot but never moving forward.

The organisations demonstrate activity in moving data around, but not much progress or results. Businesses are comfortable with purchasing new technology to support data-driven decision making. But data-driven decision making is a somewhat mysterious objective for many businesses.

In this post, we look at how we can move forward to leverage data for smarter decisions.

Data for decisions: are we too late?

Digital transformation is as a necessary consequence of business survival during the pandemic (University of Stanford). Now, the focus has shifted to remote working and cybersecurity concerns. Businesses focus on remote working as a digital transformation success, but this focus misses out the opportunities to leverage data.

Digital transformation is ultimately about the company’s attitude towards innovation. Serving your customer should be your North Star. Business Intelligence can help you to hear your customer’s voice in the data, so you can help find your North Star and direct efforts towards it.

It raises bigger questions than remote working. Digital transformation is an opportunity for the organisation to consider innovation and customers. Innovation should be central to the evolution of the business. Businesses who look after their data will survive the pandemic, along with the leaders who made smart decisions to do ‘no regret’ data projects to make the most of team members working at home.

Like the White Rabbit, we cannot be late to the party. The time to start business intelligence and analytics efforts is now.

Data for innovation: falling down the analytics rabbit hole of Business Intelligence data

Digital transformation can help organisations to point themselves towards innovation by understanding customers better. Business intelligence and analytics efforts should be prioritised towards serving the customer. Like Alice in Wonderland, falling down the rabbit hole, business intelligence and analytics projects can also consume data scientists and businesspeople alike.

Business Intelligence and analytics projects can be uniquely interesting because there is always more to discover. It is easy to get sucked into the myriad of potential routes that the investigation can take. What’s the way out of the rabbit hole?

The investigation has to be focused on the customer and supporting the customer’s needs. If the investigation is not focused on the business vision, then the analytics efforts should be redirected towards supporting innovation.

Takeaway: Who are the data science efforts serving?

Data for translation, effective Business Intelligence and digital transformation: curiouser and curiouser!

Data interpretation can be difficult, like reading the poem Jabberwocky in Alice in Wonderland. The structure of the poem may look as if it makes sense, but the actual content is difficult to interpret.

It is hard to know when to stop an analytics project. Often, people keep going through an analytics process because they don’t understand what the data says. The hope is that additional analytics will help them to understand the results. This approach might help the business teams since they spend more time in the production process.

If the organisation does not make a return on its investment of time and money in the analytics project, then it is wasted time, effort and energy. Again, the digital transformation process should be focused on supporting the customer. It’s important to keep asking the key takeaway question below.

Takeaway: What is the purpose of the analytics investigation and how do we know if the purpose has been fulfilled?

Data literacy vs data translation in Business Intelligence: Eat Me or Drink Me?

Businesses can leverage data for smarter decision making by having a focus on data translation. Data Literacy is important, but it places the emphasis on people to understand the data. On the other hand, data translation focuses on the effort to support and help people to understand the data.

Data translation flips data literacy on its head, since it focuses the effort on processes, technology and people to help business users to understand the data instead. You need your teams to help make your digital transformation work because your people are your most essential resource. Empathy is a crucial part of Business Intelligence and digital transformation.

Takeaway: Are the right people able to understand the findings, and what can you do to help the communication? Communication isn’t what you say; communication is what you get back.


To summarise, our attitudes to smarter decision making are evidence of our attitude towards innovation. Putting together data translation, data literacy and a focus on innovation, businesses can start to win the Red Queen’s race with their analytics projects.

At 848, we work with Data Relish to make your data work for you. Together, we can plan, build and run your data strategy, and provide consultancy services in technologies including Microsoft Azure Artificial Intelligence, Microsoft Business Intelligence, and Data Visualisation with Tableau and Power BI.

Get in touch to learn more about what Data Relish and 848 can do for you with Business Intelligence today.