Powering analytics: Why your data hoard and dashboards may be useless (VB Live)

VB LIVE: You can slice and dice the terabytes of data you gather seven ways ‘til Sunday — but what do you actually know? Join our free VB Live event to learn from the pros how to start making all your decisions powerfully data-driven.
Register here for free.

Robert Olson, director of data and analytics at DigitalOcean, is on to you.
“Data can be used to validate a question or a hypothesis,” he continues. “But it shouldn’t be used to simply justify a decision that was made in the first place without the use of data.” In fact, he’s seen data teams brought in to simply find the data needed to support a move that had already been taken.
Instead, he asserts, “The only eventual value of data is when it’s used to make better decisions.”
Still, data is most often collected by the terabyte for no articulated reason, except to simply be hoarded. “Data” is now the answer seemingly to everything — but marketers so often forget to ask the question.
“Time can be wasted looking at data, producing tons of useless, overburdened dashboards that don’t actually change the decisions that anyone is making,” Olson argues. “They’re still doing the same things anyway.”
At DigitalOcean, a worldwide developer-focused cloud computing organization with 14 million cloud servers worldwide, the data and analytics department is organized to counter this far-too-frequent tendency.
“I constantly hammer away at people that we need to empower the data team and the data analysts to feel 100 percent confident that someone is going to use the product of their analysis and actually do something, to make a decision,” Olson says. “They have to be able to answer the question, ‘If I’m not here, would the company be making the same choices and the same decisions?’”
He advocates for empowering anyone in a data role to feel they can push back when they feel like their work isn’t leading to answering a question — or if they feel like the question they’re answering isn’t necessarily leading toward enabling someone to take an action with real business impact.
To ensure this, DigitalOcean has an objective central team that doesn’t directly report to the people making the decisions, and is involved early in projects so that they’re advising, rather than being used to validate done deals.
When you establish a central data team, Olson says, “You gain an amount of objectivity so that data doesn’t become the thing you use to just justify the decision, but rather the thing you use to come up with the decision in the first place.”
To learn more about how data can powerfully impact business decisions, and your bottom line, register now for our free webinar.

Don’t miss out!
Register here for free.

You’ll also learn how to:

Utilize analytics to root out inefficiency
Turn analytics into actionable insights
Move from data theory to insight practice
Take data from the abstract to the concrete
Identify and solve problems faster and more efficiently

Speakers include:

Ross Bixler, Director of Business Operations, Underground Elephant
Robert Olson, Director of Data and Analytics, DigitalOcean
Andrew Searson, Director of Analytics, Looker
Jon Cifuentes, Analyst, VentureBeat


Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat

This VB Live event is sponsored by Looker.
Powering analytics: Why your data hoard and dashboards may be useless (VB Live)
Powering analytics: Why your data hoard and dashboards may be useless (VB Live)

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