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"Small Data" is a Big Thing

man taking notes on glass board

The last decade has seen a deluge of media and corporate attention on the subject of 'Big Data' and the sophisticated tools available to analyze it to draw out the insights that lead to better decisions and strategic business moves.

However, less attention is paid to the 'Small Data' that inevitably follows. The ideas, strategy and everything around execution, which is arguably more important than the big data it came from, is often still managed across a mish-mash of systems and communicated through spreadsheets, slides and email: un-collaborative tools in a highly collaborative context.

Just data

Today, big businesses are scrambling to hire the best data scientists and spending eye-watering sums on cutting edge technology, all to be able to analyze the data they’d previously thrown away. Clearly, there are huge strategic advantages to be had by understanding patterns in data on customers, machinery, transactions – quite literally any aspect of your business.

Capitalizing on the human propensity towards visualization, many of the new tools available have enabled corporate users to quickly analyze and draw insights from enormous data sets, setting strategy to drive profitability.

Discover how to use SharpCloud to visualize and commiunicate complex data for  better business outcomes

Communicate complex information

However, reaching a level of insight to form a strategy is only half the battle – as we all know, strategy without execution is just hallucination. Being able to clearly communicate the insights, pull in teams of experts, iterate the ideas and then spawn and track projects linked to your strategy are all key to achieving success.

All of these activities create a deluge of ‘small’ data - documents, spreadsheets, impressive visuals from analytic tools pasted onto PowerPoint slides etc. These artefacts are then siloed away in SharePoint sites or email accounts - disconnected from your business or lost in a sea of folders, activity streams and chat forums. Even the feedback workflow is overly painful, iterating/emailing links or versions of documents, receiving comments via distribution lists and leaving it for someone to trawl through, update, re-attach/re-upload/re-send - a frustrating time and effort sink.

Complex data visualization

Point solutions have emerged to solve some of the issues, like Prezi for aesthetics, Slideshare for cloud based sharing or SharePoint/Box/Huddle for secure, enterprise-wide content management. However, when communicating we still have massively labour intensive workflows to create the visualizations that really make a difference - whether slides or custom artwork.

HubSpot Video

Live data visualization

One solution to these problems is to wrap your data into an item-oriented view, as we do with SharpCloud. Through this  approach you can easily attribute metrics to the things that matter to your business, visualize these items in a variety of customized views (e.g. Gantt time lines, bubble charts or simple lists), attach documents and links and, importantly, have everything update automatically as data changes. Now, your audience immediately gets an overview, and can drill down where they need to –  without being forced into the linear trap of slide decks.

This approach also allows you to capture feedback on the items themselves, making the lives of the author and the audience much easier, since the comments, documents, videos and raw data truly sit within the context of what they are about. The author(s) is no longer required to figure out where to make the change and the viewer is saved from trawling websites and folders searching for documentation.

Furthermore, SharpCloud allows for real collaboration (i.e. ideation, co-creation, discussion and decision-making), with important information and commentary collected in context - alongside documents, data, slides or video.

Discover the power of virtual whiteboarding with SharpCloud.

For example, if the items are, say, products in your innovation pipeline - decision makers in your business can view and compare their attributes visually, decide something as a group (by voting, scoring or simply moving the items on the screen), while all of the pertinent documentation is right in front of them, making sure everyone knows why they made their decisions through published commentary.

Visualize projects

SharpCloud connects seamlessly with Jira, Github, Microsoft DevOps, and other agile software. In the click of a button, your live project data can move between SharpCloud and your work management software of choice.

While all of these tools - PowerPoint, SharePoint, Excel and ESN's - have their place in the enterprise, our customers are augmenting them with SharpCloud to more clearly communicate complexity, make decisions effectively and cater to the needs of todays global, connected, mobile workplace. Discover SharpCloud today.

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