I love data analytics. Digging into the numbers and uncovering trends and patterns can be satisfying. The numbers always tell a story, but the narrative of the story isn’t meaningful unless the context of the numbers is understood and thoughtfully considered during analysis. Ask a data scientist to examine data sets to explain why the chicken crossed the road and hundreds if not thousands of possible outcomes will emerge. Many outcomes will have statistical merit. Some outcomes will be inane. What’s the truth?

The technology management domain produces volumes of technical, financial, and operational data. Business stakeholders ask lots of questions that can be answered with this data. How is the IT budget performing against the forecast? How much did we spend on UCaaS licenses last quarter? Which employees have corporate smartphones? A mature technology management practice can answer these and many more questions.

When the focus of inquiries pivots to why-based questions, the truth behind the numbers demands additional context, though. For example, when analysis of technology management practice data is performed to answer the question, “Why is cloud services spending 30% higher than last quarter?”, the data may indicate that increased usage is the cause. That may be the data truth, but it’s not the full story. To uncover the truth that explains the “why” in business terms, engagement with the business is needed to understand behavior and drivers behind the increased usage.

You can’t ask a chicken why it crossed the road, so you rely on the data, but you can engage with your business to learn context behind the numbers. When context is known, your technology management truth will be more meaningful and relevant than the numbers alone.

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Tim is Executive Vice President at AOTMP®

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