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Data & Analytics, Data Visualization, Business Reporting Optimization, Data Aggregation

2 minute read

When Recent History Has Little Bearing on Future Performance

May 31, 2023

Written by: Trey Standing

Whenever I am asked a business question by an executive, client, or colleague my first thought is “where” can that answer be found?

The “where” could be a multitude of places. It could be embedded in existing reporting. It might be hidden somewhere in a data point we need to create from our data warehouses. It could even be something we have no current insight into, and we have to rethink our processes to figure out how to get to that answer. The last nine years of my professional life have been dedicated to sales performance assessment in the finance industry; before that, another eight years were invested in wholesale distribution, mainly focused on operational performance. I’ve designed and created reporting frameworks, and I've created and implement strategies curated from insights extracted from that reporting. It's ALL fun.

In the finance industry there is a TON of data and a TON of reporting. When I get a new business question, my initial hypothesis is that the data that supplies the answer is out there already. We just have to find it. I love getting new questions from clients; over the last couple of years the need for new insights has been especially invigorating. 

Spinnaker Consulting Group fields many client requests to shape and view data in new, creative, and insightful ways. An emerging client theme is the need to understand their history in a new light, as we are squarely in a post-pandemic era. For most of the previous decade, the finance industry was all about “growth”. Business leaders were continually testing new tactics to meet ever-increasing organic growth goals. Then Covid hit. The industry took a pause, reset and started looking very short term at what was happening and how to adapt in a very new business environment.

As we emerge from this Covid time period, much of the traditional reporting we use to look back 1-3 years doesn’t help us as reliably as it used to. There's a HUGE anomaly in our dataset driven by the Covid economy. Yes the data accurately reflects what actually happened, but what actually happened isn't likely indicative of either current steady state or future expectations. It's becoming increasingly popular to look back further to more deeply understand pre-Covid trends, and to ignore the Covid timeframe for certain analyses. Sometimes you might need to discount portion of years. You might be interested in previous YTD comparisons based on current month. Alternately, you may need to break down the aggregate of your trends to understand the deeper layers of causation and tease out what can be disregarded, and what's vital to understand.

Every business is different, and we each are going through our own challenges. Hopefully this sparks interesting questions about your own company’s data challenges or suggests an insight you might be missing. Do you have questions about your business that your reporting is no longer answering as well as it once did? Do you feel there might be questions you are not asking that could help improve your business? Or do you have so much data out there you just can’t make sense of how to decipher it to help guide your business. We can help you with these dilemmas and more.

Spinnaker can help transform your data into valuable insights. Through various creative methods in data modeling, visualization, and narrative, we can help evaluate where there are information gaps and design solutions to support your company in making smart strategic and tactical decisions. We won't hand you an advisory deck and walk away. The insights are just the starting point. We will work side by side with your team to ensure execution is brought to reality.