Chapter 3

Gather: Turning Data into Information

A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.


The most common process in the management cycle from Chapter 2 is Gather. Organizations spend an incredible amount of time gathering data and trying to turn it into meaningful reports, dashboards, scorecards, and spreadsheets. In other words, turning numbers into knowledge. The purpose of all this activity is to find out where you are performing well and where you need to make some changes.

However, with the plethora of data we're getting, and with the speed at which change happens and transactions occur, it's getting harder to find out exactly where you stand. How, when, where, and why we consume data is undergoing a major shift, as shown in Table 3.1.

Table 3.1 Data Consumption Is Undergoing a Major Shift

From To
Static Dynamic
A big binder or a large PDF file When and where you need it (online, interactive, mobile)
Financial Financial, operational, strategic
Lagging indicators Leading indicators
Stale data Real-time information
Fixed Variable based on my role and my point of view
Passive Actionable, guided
Grids of numbers Graphical visualization
Pull (I have to go get it) Push (it comes to me)

We have too much data and not enough information. As EPM practitioners, our job is to help deliver better insights to the business, and the starting place is useful information: on time, at the right level of detail, to the person who can use it to make ...

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