Video Transcript

Welcome back. My name is Hobbs from Valorem Reply and this is TNT. A blog where we talk about best practices in the BI industry and ways we've interacted with our clients that have really been effective for them. Today in particular, I want to talk about the importance of sharing out the end results of your BI projects instead of creating yet another data silo.

Welcome back everyone. I'm Hobbs and like I have been doing for a lot of this season, I want to tell you a story. This one involves working here at Valorem. I was working on some internal projects, building out reporting for the company and we ran into a question about whether or not we could share the results of a BI project that I've been involved with, with the broader company or not. Now, I understand that there are a wide variety of security concerns whether or not someone should or shouldn't see a given data set, [or] all of the data inside of that. And a deep discussion about the way you can handle security is probably a long topic for another time. But for my purposes, what I suggest to you is wherever possible, you go out of your way to share rather than silo. Even if that means taking some risks about who will see what data.


A particular example comes to mind. I have built out a data set around employee expenses and some other things about their utilization, how they were spending their time, and this kind of information. And there was concern that if this was seen by a broad group of people, someone might dig in and look at somebody [else‘s expense data] and say, ‘why did they get this expense approved? Why didn't I get this expense approved?’ And so, a conversation began, a really healthy conversation within management, to say how should we approach this? How should we think about this particular issue? How do we make sure that people have all context they need to not jump to the wrong conclusion? I was really pleased to see this conversation taking place because what I've seen elsewhere is people immediately jump to no, right? So, there is the possibility that this could be misinterpreted or misunderstood, so no, you can't have that. Here's my data, it's in my silo, you don't get to see inside of this silo. I can't trust you to make the right decision based on what's in here, you don't understand. You don't understand the context well enough. I can sympathize with that perspective. I can sympathize with the fact that after a given set of time, you really understand the intricacies of something. And someone else coming in without that background may reach some wrong conclusions. But I still advise and encourage you to share wherever possible. Having people outside who don't understand the context ask those kinds of questions is probably a healthy discussion to have. It's probably healthy thing to ask the question going back to expenses, right? Why was this expense approved and this expense not approved? There is likely a story there and the person with the context can answer that story. But without that kind of transparency and sharing, what you end up with is these individual data experts and no overlap. No collaboration, no synergy between the different departments as you're building out this, what I think should be, a common data model, right? Truly common data for the entire organization. When I was first getting started as an analyst a few years back, there was a catch phrase which is, DATA TO THE PEOPLE, right? and I've always liked that idea. That your average person in a company should access to basically all of the data except the absolute most secure and important pieces.

So, to summarize, I recognize there are security concerns, but have those conversations in your company, right? follow the example of, in this case, the managers here in Valorem Reply as they said, ‘yes, let's talk about this. Let's find the proper solution. How much can we share? How much can we get out in front of the people who need it?' So that you don't end up just pulling this data back in and creating yet another silo for someone else to have to deal with down the road.

Thank you for joining me today, I hope you enjoyed this discussion. I realize this is a tricky topic, right? Which deserves a lot of deliberation, a lot of back and forth and dialogue. If you're interested in having that dialogue with Valorem Reply, with me in particular, look us up on our website, come find me on LinkedIn. You can comment on these videos, we’ll follow that as well. We would love to partner with you and see if we can help you figure out the best way to get rid of silos within your organization and make sure that you can get your data to the people. See y'all next time.