Data: Confidence in Metrics

Metrics are the individual numbers that relate to other numbers that tell a story. Often, these are the numbers that people of all levels of the company use to make decisions

If a company has a firm grasp of their metrics, fully understand their engine, and have reporting in the right places, there can be some pretty impressive looking dashboards available that tell the health of business at a glance.

However, those fabulous looking metrics and dashboards might be completely meaningless if the there is a broken link between the customer touch point and the data server.  As companies grow, data grows exponentially and marketing landing pages pile up on the server, there is more and more potential for something to break.  Undetected breakage can kill a company! 

The best way to resolve this is to assume that the entire system is broken and one must test, test, and test again.  Keeping records at the major data transfer points is one way to keep track of records dropping out and why.  Doing routine quality checks on the data is also a way to keep confidence levels up

Knowing the data, the trends, and the engine is a great way to detect breakage.  If sales from search take a dive and they have been consistent for the past three years, maybe something broke… maybe your campaigns need a refresh.  A good analyst usually has great instinct on the issues. 

Patience in drilling down, slicing and dicing, and becoming intiment with your data is the only way to understand it, make sure it works, and that the story is non-fiction as opposed to some strange, poorly written fiction novel.

How confident are you in your metrics? Is it fiction or non-fiction?