StuckBehindDataIs Big Data too much data? Can it really drive performance? 

In a recent Data Heads guest post, LNS Research CEO Matt Littlefield stated that in their research of over 750 quality executives, nearly half (47%) reported having too many disconnected systems and data sources for managing quality. 

In recent years we’ve seen a proliferation of data and data systems—from test stand log files to MES and ERP systems.

It seems everybody has data today. 

The problem is that a lot of that data is noise and clutter. That doesn’t drive performance.

The following three steps can help you drive performance and turn big data silos into actionable intelligence.

1. Eliminate redundancy

To drive performance with data you might start by stopping the practice of collecting data just because you can. This might sound like blasphemy coming from a self-professed “Data Head” like myself.

Ask yourself if you’re using all the data you collect. If not, why continue collecting the unnecessary portion?

One example of this is an electronics manufacturer who was collecting every test result from every circuit assembly they made. This was hundreds of electrical tests for every unit, and when we looked at the data we found that many of those tests tracked together.

The solution?

We eliminated a lot of noise and clutter by tracking only one of those tests, and did away with storing the data for the tests that tracked with it.

2. Eliminate the irrelevant

The data you’re tracking should directly correlate to the performance you want.

If not, it’s like turning the dial on a television set without actually changing the channel.

Know your system and make sure that you’re measuring the input that impacts the output.

3. Break down the silos

Now you can concentrate on breaking down the data silos to make better use of the data that matters.

In the LNS Research blog, Littlefield offered examples of these data silos:

  • Disparate data systems and locations
  • A lack of standardized processes and reporting
  • Stacks of paper that only one set of eyes can view at a time

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen these type of data silos in action. They hide critical information, making it difficult to make meaningful performance improvements.

I think that is why so much of our work is focused on integration to other business systems and devices. 

Read on for a great example of this….

Turning Big Data silos into actionable intelligence

I was reviewing a GainSeeker deployment recently with a customer, who told me:

Before GainSeeker, we had all this data in various systems and getting to it was really cumbersome. You had to save it to an Excel file, then open it and clean up all the errors. Once it was clean you might be able to get a simple chart, but if you wanted to slice it or group it somehow, it was really tough.

And then to look at it for correlation with data from another silo, forget it! It took so long and could only happen on very, very special studies. We just didn’t even try. Now we have the data from everything in one place, and we can get to it with a few clicks. And it’s updated constantly, so we can act right away.

If you’d like to take your next step to turn data silos into actionable intelligence, click on the button below to download our Easy SPC Resource Kit. It’s free, and it will guide you through the conversations and decisions you need to drive performance with Big Data.