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Are you finding yourself cleaning out hundreds of files on your desktop and work folders, hoping for a fresh start to 2019? “Clear the clutter, clear your mind”, right?

As the year progresses, projects pile up and so do files. We get it. Sometimes, it’s just easier to dump them all on your desktop when you are in a rush. But if you’re one of the many people who are spending hours opening and closing spreadsheets to figure out how to organize the mess, you’re probably thinking… there must be a better way!

We suggest making these 3 data resolutions that might just clear the clutter once and for all.

1. Spreadsheet detox

If you are wondering which version of your Excel spreadsheet is the “final” one, or whether you’ll use all these files ever again, and you are scared of deleting something that might be important, then you’ve got a spreadsheet problem.

Spreadsheet versions accumulate quickly when you are working with a team and collaborating on data. The problem is, Excel is not built for collaboration. It is an effective personal productivity tool that is being overused by organizations for fundamental business processes. Mission-critical business decisions are being made based on spreadsheets, making it even more crucial that there aren’t any errors and that they are delivered on time (as it’s data is static).

If you have multiple versions of the same spreadsheet, what you probably have is a reporting model with different versions of data. Whatever model it is, be it for sales forecasting, budget planning, or financial reporting, consider centralizing the model and creating a database behind it. There are several software and services in the market that enable you to do this at a personal level to an enterprise level.

To make sure you stick with this new year’s resolution, choose a software/service that integrates well with MS Excel as a front-end tool – not just an export! Let’s be realistic, it’s hard to move away from something you already know and love.

2. Bring life to static dashboards

This year, prioritize substance over form. The past years have brought us countless BI tools that deliver stunning data visualizations. However, how often do you really look at a dashboard versus a spreadsheet? Likely less often than you had envisioned. A spreadsheet’s utility makes it easier to update compared to dashboards, whose data needs to be massaged and re-configured as needed.

This resolution is about adding value to your BI investment – be it Power BI®, Qlik®, Tableau®, or any other software. Connecting BI products to platforms and automating data updates will add life to dashboards so it’s not just beautiful but also useful. Don’t just stop with historical data: integrating plans and forecasts in dashboards is just as important, as it provides management with a guide towards the future they are planning for.

At BI Tech, we build Metrics Engines that contain all the key indicators that BI systems need, historical and forward-looking, computed from a centralized calculation engine using data from various platforms.  Our Metrics Engine lets you manage all your reporting business rules and calculations in one location,  providing a unified and consistent result in Excel and wherever it is viewed.

3. Evaluate your systems

Cloud solutions are great because you can easily try new services without commitment and decide which ones you like. If you’ve tried several cloud solutions in 2018, revisit them and unsubscribe to those that you don’t like or need. Not only will you cut your expenses, but you will also limit the number locations where your data could be residing.

On a larger scale, has your organization invested in several BI systems? Surprisingly, it is not unusual for larger organizations to have two or more systems that do the same thing – similar systems that have been purchased to replace a failed project or because of their current market popularity. In 2019, identify the systems you want to invest in and make them work. Spending more to make an existing IT investment work is better than just letting it go to waste with an unsuccessful project.

 

Whether you are managing data for your personal work situation or managing it for the entire organization, following through on these data resolutions will enable you to focus on gaining control of your data and making data solutions more effective. Try them out!

 

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