Data Consumers Left Out in the Cold?
What is more important, data that goes into a report or the person consuming the report?
The data often takes center stage with little thought given to the consumer. The overriding goal becomes what is the best way to present the data, and even what color the report should be. But what about those poor souls who use the report to make decisions or gain insights? How does an organization address their needs?
How do you find reports? In any corporation I visit, there seem to be several tools in use. Some tools are specific to one department, while the entire organization access others. There are many portals and access methods. It leaves me wondering how consumers get information and even know how where to look.
If all reports are accessed through a corporate portal and each tool has a different usage method. I can see why users retreat to the safety of a spreadsheet or ask for assembled reports. It is easier than learning how to interact with a system. I wonder if once they do find a path to the data, what happens? Do they bookmark the page or screen capture the page in Evernote? Perhaps they subscribe to the report so an email reminder arrives every morning?
What does the report mean? Some of the reports I see are poorly done. Its not clear what question the report is trying to answer. The data visualizations are cool rather than insightful. Bubble plots come to mind as an example. Hans Rosling used the technique effectively for his TED Talk . However, when used for the wrong reason, it's just a confusing mess .