Big Data and Ways To Utilise It
What is big data?
Big data is the term given to a large volume of data. This can be anything from years of financial transactions to purchase history for thousands of customers. In particular, a database that spans across a large volume is considered big data. Historically, it would take a large amount of admin time to format into something usable. With the rise of computing power, AI and cloud technology, this is increasingly becoming a viable tool for common use.
Increasingly, it is becoming easy to record, store and evaluate large volumes of data. Large technology and software companies are heavily investing in AI. The intention behind this is to help the world automatically process data and automatically make predictions based on solid statistics. Whilst numbers are great, we believe that rich, interactive graphical reports are a better format for board meetings.
When utilised correctly, big data is beneficial in spotting trends, patterns and associations. For example, when looking at a large set of timesheets (perhaps a whole year), you can start to identify trends. This can be types of work, projects or even staff members that frequently require extra time and resources.
Data visualisation and analytical tools are at the forefront of our development cycles. We have been looking internally, to improve our reporting tools to facilitate this, starting initially with modifications to existing reports. Furthermore, there has been enhancements to our API. There are now tools to allow users to push data to Power BI or Excel on demand. Additionally, we have also released the first iteration of the Tempora dashboard. The dashboard will allow users to quickly view insightful data on their day-to-day operations.
Our ethos going forward is ‘less admin, more data’. This will ensure that clients can quickly ascertain metrics needed to make informed decisions. To this end, there will be informed decisions to grow their business sustainably and quote for work more accurately. Our reports will also be able to ‘tell a story’ about your business, enabling you to show profit & loss trends or utilisation of staff.
How to start
A great starting point is to start to think about what type of data you would like to start evaluating. Whilst it is possible to backdate data, it will require careful review to ensure that you don’t unintentionally bias the information to look more favourable. We offer workshops wherein we discuss data formats, or even import your historic data for you.
Secondly, start in increments. Pick format that looks at the data for a small period, say a week. Once you are comfortable that you understand what information you can look at moving up a step, to a month or a quarter, with the final step being a year or multiple years. Understanding the key concept that the report is showing is key. As the data gets larger you will be able to identify how to tell if the report is showing positive or negative outcomes.
Different formats of data suit data types differently. For example a pie chart is a great way of breaking down percentages, but this may not be suitable for data showing total incoming revenue month on month.
Why not book a training session / workshop so that we can help you implement the data and begin to report on it.