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MDM Interview, Part 2: The Common Sense Test in Analytics

MDM recently spoke with Tony Pericle, author of Transforming Data into Action: Using Analytics for Better Distributor Sales Decisions from the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. This is part 2 of that interview. Part 1 was published in the March 10, 2012, issue of MDM. In part 2, Pericle says analytics alone won’t solve all problems. It takes ongoing course correction and the “common sense test” to get the best results from any effort to use data to make better decisions for your organization.

MDM: When defining analytics, you include walking around the company and getting more qualitative information. That is just the first level of nine you outline in your book. Do companies sometimes think too narrowly when they think about how to use data to improve their organizations?

Tony Pericle: If you think you’re going to be able to use data to answer all of your questions, you are absolutely wrong. I’ll use this example. I have five children and I’ve taught three of them to drive so far. Now I am teaching a fourth one. I take him to an empty parking lot, and I have a crunched Aquafina bottle that I throw out in the parking lot. I tell him: “I want you to drive over it with your left wheel. And then I want you to drive over it with the right ...

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