The hype surrounding “big data” can give the impression that good analytics software is all an organization needs to improve the quality and speed of its decision-making. Yet, even when organizations rely on data in creating or implementing business strategies, the important decisions are still often made by people.

More and better data alone doesn’t result in better decision-making, according to EPM Channel, an industry news source for enterprise performance management professionals. To get the most from “big data,” organizations need to make sure they integrate business intelligence (BI) data with good communication and critical thinking.

That critical thinking starts with interrogating the data itself, EPM Channel suggests. Ask yourself the following questions, which serve as reminders to test the assumptions in your BI system: Does your organization’s data provide a single version of the truth, or competing accounts? Are the questions applied to the data providing the answers you truly need? Do you trust this data as the foundation for business decisions?

Regularly testing assumptions about the quality and use of your business data can help your organization avoid making otherwise valid decisions based on flawed information. From there, the challenge is to make this vetted data accessible and easy to use for the people who ultimately make the call. An effective analytics program, such as Chrome River ANALYTICS, should support good communication and critical thinking, making it easy for business people to convert data into useful information that can guide decision-making.

Instead of replacing good communication and critical thinking, BI and analytics platforms are tools for augmenting these human skills, resulting in better-informed decisions. One easy place to start is mining your organization's expense reports for valuable data - like the true cost of sales.

We’d like to hear from you. Do you think organizations should spend more time and resources testing and assessing the quality of their data? Would your organization use business data in more situations if your analytics tools were more user-friendly? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

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