Data Culture – First steps in creating it in your organisation

These are the seventeen reasons why IT will not let me send my 250MB Excel file that we use to run the business via email

At Ricoh Digital Services (AKA the day job) we do a lot of Data & Analytics projects for a diverse range of customers. When the project is completed and handed over, we can let the customer run it, or we can support it. What we don’t get involved with is the changes that it can bring to an organisation. Sure, during the sales process, we talk about the single source of the truth, the outcomes, what the customer wants, but not how they use data internally. We assume that the Data Warehouse is going to be used, but what we don’t do is see, is if the organisation is using it effectively, we assume that it will be. However, what we see is a number of organisations reacting to information, rather that being lead by it. So here are some ideas I’ve gathered on turning that around, and moving from a reactive driven to a more proactive data driven and some of the benefits that it should bring.

The Problem

The hand loom circa 1850

The above image is a picture of a hand loom, weaving thread into cloth by hand, a laborious time intensive manual process, prone to mistakes. Replace that hand loom with Excel, and that is a chuck of your organisation today. That is the problem, there is normally a small cottage industry of Excel users creating reports, running teams, departments, entire companies, and COVID-19 track and trace databases using Excel. In the wrong, and even the right hands, Excel can be dangerous. Did you know that Excel played its part in a $6 Billion trading loss at JP Morgan as one of the copied and pasted quantitative models had some basic Excel issues, as noted in the internal investigation:

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