Analytics is the art of extracting meaningful knowledge from complex data sets. Modern technology allows for unprecedented levels of detail in the information we can retrieve from our processes, our machines, and our systems. Unfortunately, this valuable stream can easily turn into a firehose, which overwhelms our ability to make any sense from it. Analytics tools solve that problem by filtering, correlating and presenting data to create reports and dashboards that give us the information we need to make the right decisions.

The first step is to collect all the data and bring it together. Anything that could be useful, from sales records to financial data to the maintenance status of machines on your production line and the number of hours employees are spending at their workstations, must be modelled, collected, and added to the data warehouse.

Then, analysis tools must be designed to process this data, searching for information relevant to individual KPI’s, investor expectations, strategic goals and regulatory requirements. These tools filter and sort the data to extract the required information and present it.

Finally, the information needs to be sent to the decision makers and stake holders. Regular reports can be generated, giving the big picture and historical context, to those who need to know. And for critical or time-sensitive information, that can not wait for a report, dashboards are set up. Each dashboard, customised for the needs of its user, contains dials, graphs and warning lights to keep you appraised of the real time status of the areas you are responsible for.