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Less insight, more value

One of the things that I get asked a lot at work is to create a reports, run an analysis, or get some data so we can get visibility on XYZ, normally as a result of a question asked by a HiPPO (highest paid person in the office) because they were “curious”.

To these people throwing these requests at us, more data is always better. If we knew more about our customers/competitors/employees, even if just incrementally, wouldn’t it be better than knowing less?

Well, yes and no.

If there is zero cost to obtaining the data; if there is zero cost to refreshing the report; if there is zero cost to running that analysis, then yes, for sure let’s do it.

But the problem is that there is often a cost involved.

A cost to get the data in the first place; a cost to run an analysis; and a cost to generate and maintain a report.

And if it’s a regular report, that cost just goes on and on unless fully automated, which may also incur a larger large initial development cost to get it automated in the first place.

Then there is also the opportunity cost. Creating this report means not creating that report. Running this report regularly means less time for focusing on optimization and future development work.

Yes, the having that insight and visibility would be nice. But not having it could possibly be nicer by freeing up more resource for higher value work, and we shouldn’t forget that.

Categories: Analytics Business and Finance Career Data Science Decision Making Management Project Management

Donn Lee

I love to read and write. Professionally, data science, technology, and sales ops are my thing. In my non-professional life, I aspire quite simply to be a good person, and encourage others to do the same. For those who care, I test as INFJ in the MBTI.

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