Reporting the Facts

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Feeling totally underwhelmed with this weeks budget, I picked up the paper the other day to read in the Times a quote from the Government that the 1 pence reduction in fuel duty would save the average car owner £3 when they fill up.

Hmmm, what sort of car does the average household own?

£3 of savings equates to 300 litres, which in UK terms is about 66 gallons.

Apparently a Formula one car is limited to 220 litreswhich is just shy of 50 gallons, so what is everyone driving?

Either there are a lot of people driving around in HGV’s or the way this statistic was reported was a little misleading.

I assume this is a monthly saving not every time we fill the car up however this kind of misrepresentation of the facts is far from unusual.

“Lies, damned lies, and statistics” as they say.

It’s really easy to put spin on a set of numbers but how do you see through it?

How do you get to the truth?

For decades now people have been fed off reports that have built from incomplete and inaccurate data. People have had to make do with second hand information generated by the IT department and delivered as a print out or a spreadsheet.

Do the people writing the reports know if the data they end up with is true?

Do they know enough about the business to question why certain values are higher than others or why certain scenarios return no data?

The problem is that the people in the business are better equipped to understand information but not as well equipped in getting it out.

Relying on someone telling you or interpreting a situation based on a set of invalid assumptions can be damaging to the business and in todays dog eat dog environment, your own livelihood!

With more at stake, more and more data to sift through, more and more decisions to make based on things you get told or shown, its time to take control!

Self-service reporting has been promised for decades but only now can you really get it.

Roll-out self-service BI to the business where the business users can drill into the detail and find out the facts themselves and we’ll all make better, more informed decisions.

Listen to political spin or take everything you hear as real and we’ll all end up with egg on our faces.

But back to the fuel duty cut…

I am going out to blow my £3 on a happy meal. I need cheering up!

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