It almost sounds like a joke from the 1970s; did you hear the one about the wife who was right first time and always right! But, that’s how we want to be in 2014 with our information, right first time so that we can make true and valid predictions and interpretations from the information we have gathered. After all we are in the information ‘business’ and therefore need to be able to give assurances that the data we promote as ‘insight giving information’ is always right.

How are we going to do this though; through the adoption of several principles, one of which being what QlikTech’s John Teichman describes as ‘ishiness’. He describes this as meaning having a quality that gives people the ability to maintain an overall sense of a data set or grouping of information and where they are within it. Through the adoption of this as a base principle for the delivery of all information we will enable our organisation to be able to always use the data we collect in the ‘correct’ way.

(According to Teichman the term ‘ishiness’ a corruption of the way we use ‘ish’ as a suffix in English to denote that something is broadly right.) 

Whatever name we give it, it is fantastically helpful when looking at large or complex datasets, reports and pieces of information. Imagine always being able to set the context of a clinical trial recruitment report against other similar trials or against a point in time equivalent to the baseline of the report, and being able to do this without hours of additional statistic preparation, that is what the new Open Data Platform (ODP) applications will enable the user to do. What we then add to this is the fact that the new recruitment data is ‘near real time’ data and that it is built and referenced from comprehensive Meta Data. This is the panacea for all of our reporting capability, and one that we have in our sights before April 2014.

CIO magazine reported in December that on a recent American TV programme Google CEO Eric Schmidt commented that the use of Google as a search engine was one where users were used to not getting the right answer the first time, and that he wanted to change that. “We have more bugs per second than anything else in the world”, Schmidt went on to say, “We should be able to give you the right answer just once. We should know what you meant, we should give it in your language, and we should never be wrong.” Taking this and applying it to our business intelligence systems is the second principle we will ensure is prevalent in our tools. As a goal providing the tools to answer questions with one single, solid and meaningful answer is going to be a stretch, both technically and perhaps more importantly culturally. We are an organisation that has the ‘data debate’ at its core as we are large series of networks rather than management structures to work within. The way in which business intelligence is created in the organisation as the new tools are deployed successfully over the first quarter of 2014 will be significantly impacted upon by the change management of the implementation programmes, something we need to invest time and effort into over the coming few months.

Changing the way in which everyone interacts with information is our aspiration, and one that we know we have to achieve to continue to be successful. In 2014 the virtual Business Intelligence Unit will be in place across the research networks, a group of like minded people willing to work together to enable a new meaning for BI, Business Imagination rather than ‘simply’ intelligence. This is the third principle we are working up into a plan for delivery. We have put in place the tools that enable Business Intelligence to be gained from the insight that information gives us, now we need to enable the whole organisation to be able to utilise the intelligence to create imagination, this change is when the benefit release profile will really reap the dividends we have always wanted it to.

With these three principles nd the continued hard work and creativity of a great team 2014 is looking pretty rosy. However as Richard Corliss is quoted,

“Nothing ages so quickly as yesterday’s vision of the future.”

Therefore even with these three principles in place we need to keep a constant eye on the horizon as we really have got ahead of the game and need to stay there to be efficient and effective.