Why is Data Important?

Data is information, like facts and numbers, that we collect and store. It can be words, pictures, measurements, or even just numbers. Think of it as tiny pieces of information that we use to learn, make decisions, and understand things better.

As a leader, you might be looking for information to ensure you're propelling your organization's mission forward. For example financial data to manage the company's resources effectively or data from market research helps the CEO make decisions about the design and features of products and services.

If you're connecting with clients, you might be working directly with data like client records. This includes records about the people you support, like their names, ages, and the challenges they're facing. This data helps them provide the right support and track progress.

How does data connect with outcomes development?

Data plays a central role in outcomes development by serving as the foundation for setting goals, monitoring progress, and assessing results. It helps organizations define what success looks like and how to achieve it. 

Your data provides the foundation of evidence to demonstrate whether or not you're meeting your goals. You may have determined key performance indicators (KPIs) used to see how on-track the organization is. For example, the number of products sold or customer satisfaction scores can be indicators.

These indicators can also demonstrate how your organization has supported individuals making improvements in their well-being  or making a positive impact in the community.

What role does data play in program evaluation?

Data is central to program evaluation as it helps assess the effectiveness and impact of programs. It provides evidence to determine whether programs are meeting their goals and if adjustments are needed. Check out my Instagram posts about the four types of evaluation and what questions to ask!

What are meaningful insights?

Meaningful insights are like the "aha!" moments when you suddenly understand something important or see a hidden connection. They are valuable pieces of information that help us make better decisions, solve problems, and learn from our experiences. 

You might see this in sales data and notice that a new product is selling exceptionally well in a certain region, that's a meaningful insight. It tells you that expanding the product in that region could be a productive move.

What is data integrity?

Data integrity is like having a reliable and trustworthy guide. It means that the data you have is accurate, dependable, and consistent. For example, in working with clients data integrity means that the information they collect about their clients is objective and consistent. Anyone who touches this information should come to understand the same story when reviewing this data. 

What tools can organizations use for data management and analysis?

There are various tools available, including Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, data visualization software like Tableau, and survey platforms like SurveyMonkey. The choice depends on specific needs and preferences.

My preference is to work with budget-friendly options to ensure your organization first leverages what is available on-hand to build capacity and sustainability before seeking to invest in advanced options. 

How can organizations make data more accessible to staff and stakeholders?

Organizations can make data more accessible through user-friendly dashboards, reports, and presentations. Training and communication can also help staff and stakeholders understand the data's significance. Building a data culture and capacity within departments is the key to success in sustainability.

Jennifer took the time to listen fully to my vision, and also the challenges and hopes of my team, and incorporate all of them into something tangible, while balancing the administrative needs of the project.

Rachel Clare | Director, Alzheimer Calgary