Analytical Insights: The Key to Climbing the Data Pyramid

In Analytics, Numerify

We work to maintain strong partnerships with our customers by performing Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs). We try to understand what we are doing right, where can we improve, and where our customers feel there is value in extending our solution.

One trend we have heard is that our customers are continuously looking for ways to use IT data, for additional insights or knowledge. These customers look to us to provide guidance and consulting on where business value can be realized as part of our managed service. Customers from across a wide variety of industries including healthcare providers, pharmaceutical, insurance, financial services, and retail were all asking for more content and guidance in their analytics journey. So a few weeks ago, we launched a new tool for our customers called the Numerify Insights Library as a direct result of input given during our QBRs.
 

Our Customers Wanted to Realize True Value from Their Data

We recognized that to our customers, data models are critical to success — but they are a means to an end. Insights that visualize information to show indicators of future performance and analyze past performance are what enable organizations to realize value and drive adoption. Without the data models we build, the insights would not be possible.

analytical-insightsI often associate what we heard with the DIKW pyramid. The DIKW pyramid is a common data model in information and knowledge management. It has been used by several educators and practitioners over the last 40 years to explain the relationships between data and the understanding of what data is saying. I usually associate the example used by Milan Zeleny most with this model. He mapped the elements of this hierarchy to knowledge forms of knowing nothing (Data), knowing what (Information), knowing how (Knowledge), and knowing why (Wisdom). Knowledge and Wisdom are levels of understanding that allow an organization to influence what is happening and therefore an outcome.

Our customers needed more guidance and content to help them climb the DIKW pyramid. Organizations need to move away from knowing nothing or knowing only what is happening within the Data and Information levels. Ultimately they want to influence business outcomes and create value, which requires that organizations move up the pyramid to gain Knowledge
and Wisdom — or knowing how and why something is happening. For us, that means that providing analytical insights is our critical success factor.
 

Sharing User Experiences and Insights within Numerify

Our team comes from a diverse set of backgrounds with experience in a variety of industries, and over time this has resulted in an extensive library of Insights that we as a company have created. While some of the use cases are customer-specific and unique, most address challenges that are experienced widely in IT. Our challenge has always been how could we best make this library of use cases available to all customers?

As we thought about these challenges, our minds gravitated to the idea of an app store for Insights. How cool would it be if a customer was able to search a catalog of use cases? This one thought led to a vision of a solution that would provide customers with an interface to:

  • Search a catalog of Insight use cases and provide relevance scoring
  • Identify which are the most commonly adopted Insights
  • Provide a mechanism for requesting an Insight be added to a customer solution
  • Automate implementation
  • Follow up on implementation status
insights library

Sample Insights dashboard

And with each new Insight, we wanted to be sure we could effectively share some key concepts that would enable the customer to understand the purpose and business value. This included ideas such as:

  • Providing sample screenshots
  • Identifying business goals/challenges answered and typical findings
  • Indicating what actions a user might take or which business decisions are supported by specific Insights
  • Offering guidance on next Insights of value based on past requests
  • Sharing whom within the organization would be a typical user of an Insight

This initial idea became a mission for us to share Insights within our customer community. We know it will take some time to build the complete vision, but it is one we feel is vital to support all of our customers — regardless of their maturity and resources available to maximize value from Numerify.
 

Bringing Analytical Insights back to the Customer

We have identified some things we can do now to immediately provide our customers with more vision, and this is what we launched earlier this month. This includes publishing a library of Insights directly in the Numerify Knowledge Base. Currently we have about a dozen Insights published across a variety of our products including service, asset, project, and software development analytics. There are Insights that help organizations understand operational performance of segments of the IT infrastructure, measure change success, and help prioritize technology refresh initiatives. This list is growing each week as we work through our backlog of use cases.

It has been extremely exciting to see the vision start to turn into reality and to hear some overwhelmingly positive early customer responses. Referring to the Insights available, one customer said:

“I’m very excited!!! I want them all!!! Trying hard not to be Veruca from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! I WANT THE GOLDEN GOOSE AND I WANT IT NOW!”

[Photo credit: Pexels.]

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