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How to Lead Data Conversations

Data can be an intimidating subject, full of complexity and jargon. As a result, many business people we work with hold back on joining the conversation, as they’re worried they don’t have the expertise.

In reality, data is just information. Business people generate this information in their day-to-day routines, and as a result, are actually in the best position to contribute value to the data conversation.

Minimizing complexity in data discussions

At Think Evolve Solve, our team has a blend of data analysts, engineers and scientists. But it also has business people from sales, marketing & executive roles.

We help organisations build the most value into their data projects by engaging both business teams and technical teams in conversations about data. The simple questions below enable us to cut the complexity and be specific.

Are you talking about data itself, or a data solution?

Data is raw information like Customer Profiles, Financial Info & HR records.
Data Solutions are calculations or insights from data like dashboards, reports and forecasts.

The word “data” is used to describe both these concepts, so it’s important to be clear about which you’re talking about. Once you understand what kind of data you’re discussing, the next step is to determine what the challenge is.

Most data issues are in one of the following categories:

  • Availability (getting the data you need into one place)
  • Governance (ensuring data is complete, quality-assured and in the required format)
  • Integration (connecting data from different locations to create the view you need)

Your data may be facing one or many of the above issues. Many organisations find that being clear on their data requirements can help resolve these issues. Our Executive Data Framework may help with this. To understand your data issues, it’s also critical to understand the purpose of your data.

What do you need the data for?

Many people try to discuss ‘all’ data in general terms. That’s like trying to navigate a 2-hour journey by looking at the world map.

The reality is data projects typically only focus on key reports, so try to identify early what insights you’re looking for. When you know the target outcome, the conversation should be a lot smaller, more manageable, and easier to understand.

Answering the questions above will enable you to navigate data conversations with ease. This will position you to better help your team solve existing data issues, and make you look smart in the process.

Now drive your next data conversation with these simple questions, and let us know how you get on via Twitter or LinkedIn!


Need support with developing your data strategy, building a data capability, or launching a data solution? We’d love to help. Click here for a 15-minute chat to discuss your data issues with an expert data advisor.

Alternatively, you can find more information on the types of problems we solve on our Services Page.

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