Spring Cleaning

Analytics Order, Data Literacy Calm

Ever find yourself in your closet searching for an article of clothing or trying to squeeze one more hangers on the rack? I took the better part of the afternoon on Saturday to clean out my closet. It made me realize a few key things. I am a pack rat and this clean up exercise took way longer than I thought. I anticipated the exercise taking 30-45 minutes tops. How hard could it be? What I discovered 3 hours later is I keep too many unnecessary items.

Over time we gather items and find places to store them. We continue this until we run out of places to hang things, or till our drawers are overflowing and won’t shut. One solution is to add more space which is why we love the Container Store or turn to self-storage units. The more we store the longer it takes to find a place to put things or even find items we desire. Clutter leads to resource consumption, time loss and frustration. Clutter not only impacts us at home, clutter can impact our analytics systems as well.Let’s review some approaches you can leverage – in life or with Qlik!

Take Inventory

The approach: Marie Kondo’s method is to throw all the items in a pile in the middle of the floor and then review each item. If it gives joy, keep it; if not, thank it and put it in the to discard pile. With analytics: While it would be nice to throw all your data in a pile in the middle of the room, a better and more practical approach is to leverage the audit applications Qlik Telemetry Dashboard and Application Metadata Analyzer. Reviewing the history of the application usage provides an indication on usage patterns as well as identifies sheets and objects leveraged the most. The time these objects take to load identifies if this area is impacting performance and a target for optimization.

Another factor of inventory is identifying the adoption metrics. Leveraging the Qlik Sense Ops Monitor and QlikView Governance Dashboard to determine application stickiness or adoption is one way to measure if your community is gaining value from the analytics provided. Our Qlik Customer Success Management (CSM) team is capturing these metrics with their clients, which helps us determine if systems sizing needs to be reviewed, as well as helps us target programs we can jointly execute to continue the adoption of the solution, and ensure customers are achieving the business outcomes they desire.

Organize: Reduce the Clutter

The approach: Once we had the pile of clothes on the floor each item was reviewed to determine if it was ever worn in the past year or if it fits properly. I was surprised by the number of items that were collected over the years that I know would never see the light of day. One pile was for donation or given to family and friends in need. The other items were returned to the hangers. The remaining empty hangers were removed as well. It’s amazing how many dry cleaner hangers I had. This act alone creates more space making it easier to hang and find clothes.

With your analytics solutions, archiving is easier, little or non-use items can be offloaded or repurposed.We now have the prime opportunity to reorganize and store items in more accessible locations.Renaming, tagging or categorizing assets to best address use cases and end user consumption are additional techniques to improve user accessibility and user experience. As you assess underutilized items whether it’s clothing or applications, ask yourself ‘is this an awareness problem?’ In many cases, due to the clutter and explosion of data, we lose sight of what is available. It’s like that shirt we really like that’s lost in the middle of a stack of shirts. Once we expose it in the inventory process, we can promote it to the top of the pile or more prominent location. Applications can be highlighted in portals or communicated in an awareness campaign. Creating events such as Lunch and Learns or User Groups are two simple and underutilized opportunities to showcase content. At Qlik we run Qlik Days to support the analytics missions of our customers and drive their user adoption strategies.

Harness Resources

The approach: Your closet or room is fixed in size. You can add storage containers, cabinets or drawers to provide additional options. Mostly your options will be to reduce what you are storing to create space which is why many of us avoid the exercise or have a challenge parting with sentimental items.

In the analytics world, this is akin to continuing to run the same reports or load the same applications because that’s how we’ve always done it. Luckily with systems, you have more options than knocking down walls, buying containers or storage units: Adding storage or memory to servers, adding servers, leveraging cloud instances. There are many options; however, you first must assess how you are utilizing the technical footprint you have today. Many of the Enterprise Customers I work with size their infrastructure once and never revisit, only to find overtime unexplained performance degradation. Leveraging the trend data from monitoring applications, these customers resized and optimized their environments resulting in significant performance improvements. Quarterly reviews of your system will prevent this issue from occurring and minimize disruptions and escalations. If only resizing our closets were that easy.

Getting started is the hardest part. The investment is well worth it, when you measure it against the time savings you gain and the hidden gems you discover. Make the commitment to declutter, take inventory and identify resources. The benefits gained from resource optimization and effectiveness of your platform far outweigh the time investment to declutter. After an initial exercise, make this part of a routine or seasonal ritual. With a decluttered analytics platform, you can progress towards data literacy calm.

As for your closet, you’re on your own now, good luck!

As we get into spring, @aciperski shares some tips on ways we can declutter our closets and our #data!


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