One of the University of Washington MBA statistics professors used to respond to every student question with his own, “What does the data say?”
When reviewing your project or program metrics, it is important to go beyond single data points to tell a strong story. If you can’t you are likely missing critical data measurements, or worse, you could be facing a hard truth about your provider or project performance!
In our last blog, we discussed pushing your ediscovery providers to offer access to your data in digestible and easy to interpret visual components. Fortunately, visual reporting is becoming more ubiquitous due to collective demand. However, the next gap is in making sure the connections are drawn as they relate to YOUR goals and objectives so you can speak to your own performance and strategy.
The visual reporting that is most valuable to you will draw correlations and relationships between data points. As in storytelling, you will have a hero and an antagonist, meaning at least two data points that impact each other, along with side players who influence the events. Some examples being, your monthly project invoice total, data volumes, active reviewers, and productions. On their own they are pretty powerful metrics, but when combined into a story they tell a powerful narrative about the interrelationships and how they affect each other.
Merely reporting a static metric does not make a story. Your interest in cost, speed, risk, or other components should drive the reports you generate and the relationships your providers’ reporting should call out. To be the most successful, we recommend starting with the conclusion or the goal you are trying to achieve. This will provide you with the ability to focus on the problem and assist in identifying the precise metrics to collect and the appropriate visual representation.
Often, one report is used by multiple users with different priorities or success metrics, and the relationships they each need to see between various other data points are not represented. Start with understanding how frequently your data is refreshed and what type of data is meaningful. Perhaps you are inundated with line items but a more helpful report is an aggregate of several areas. Alternately, you may have a snapshot in time of an aggregate and lack visibility into the thousand points that reveal insights. Pressure ediscovery providers to provide you the ability to configure reporting to achieve a clear picture to surface insights.
The key points in this post will enable you to focus on the problems you want to solve, while reducing noise or data paralysis. Nobody wants to be data rich and insight poor. Once you have access to slice and dice the data relationships, you can better track your success in steering the ship towards a solution.