Sunday, May 29, 2016

Importance of Improving Data Management and Analysis

One thing that has always bothered me about my current organization is its inability to use technology in a meaningful way when it comes to data management.  Reading "Ten IT-enabled Business Trends for the Decade Ahead" further proved to me that my organization is trailing behind when it comes to data analysis.  As we have read, data collection through IT advancements is critical for an organization's strategy.  Data analysis provides companies with the information they need to make strategic decisions about their business.  Without the proper data collection mechanisms, those companies who cannot collect and evaluate data will put themselves at a disadvantage relative to their peers who do a better job of evaluating data.

Given the advances in drilling and mining technologies we have the ability to track just about anything and everything in the field.  We try to capture as much information as possible, however, it doesn't matter what you collect if you don't have a means to store it systematically and run analysis.  My company utilizes a multitude of databases to warehouse our information.  Unfortunately, many of those systems don't communicate, making it nearly impossible to find what you're looking for at any given time.  Part of the issue is that we have acquired various organizations throughout the years, each with their own methods of storing data.  Without a standard for collecting and storing data, it is nearly impossible to find what you need.  The size of our operations also creates challenges because there is so much to information to house.

Part of my responsibilities include collecting and maintaining environmental compliance information.  We analyze this information quite extensively in my own department, however if we ever need to share it or compare it to information from other departments, it become quite challenging.  We could learn so much more about what is going on in our operations if we had the proper means to store/share data across multiple disciplines.  We are missing out on the opportunity to learn more about our operations.  As a result, we may fall behind our competitors who are able to spot trends or market needs before us.  As the McKinsey article pointed out, companies need to look beyond data strategy and work to develop data analytic tools and visualizations of data that are accessible to managers so it can be used effectively to aid in decision making.  What is the point of capturing so much data across the company if you don't use it for something meaningful?

I fear that we are missing out on making connections between different departments within my organization because there is little exchange of information across departments.  Given the downturn of natural gas it is critical for my organization to improve our data analysis in order to identify cost saving efficiencies.  This article hit the nail on the head for me and demonstrated how critical it is for companies to account for data analytics when discussing strategic planning.  Better data analysis and availability will lead to better decision making and stronger analysis will be beneficial in determining if the decision generated the results they were expecting.

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