Analytics is … Culture

A Question to end all questions…


Data-Science or Data Alchemy?


When it comes to analytics there is only one metric your company needs to figure out, the rest should flow through naturally:

How does your company’s data-cycle serve you?

usually met with scepticism, or blank faces, when I ask this.

I think the reason why people have a hard time answering this, is because too often whenever someone thinks of data, people are focused on the output. Where can I find this metric? How do I calculate it? What type of dashboard would I find this in? Can we output this to different formats?

This is especially true for People in charge of data-related projects, that have no experience working with data. More often than not, If you don’t know what the answer to that question is, either you’re not responsible for the data-cycle, or your company isn’t yet at the stage where data-backed decision making is part of a natural process.


In order to understand the question a bit better, let me ask another one:

Does your company view data as an additional voice in your decision making?

How about?

Within your company culture, what role does data take?

The pattern emerging in these questions, is the somewhere in these sentences, ‘data’ takes on a personified role.



  • the attribution of a personal nature or human characteristics to something non-human, or the representation of an abstract quality in human form.
  • A figure intended to represent an abstract quality.

from a purely data point of view this is what I’m actually reading:

  • human characteristics and behaviours can be found in data.
  • Company-specific data can model human behaviour or characteristic.


Can you spot the pattern emerging?

These two statements on personification, point at the possibility of processing data in two different ways, in one direction I can process a data set to output evidence to a happenstance.

The other direction allows me to follow is to model different possible outcomes and Identify behaviours which have not come to pass!

Reactive data processes that view the past, and pro-active data processes that paint the future!

To summarise, consider the following scenario:

In a competitive environment, we rarely have a chance to self-reflect. Sometimes this can lead to us misunderstanding, the fundamental nature and essence of what we do (as a company), how we relate to one another as employees, or of what standard we produce work.

Over time these small involuntary adjustments of purpose and understanding results in catastrophe, Hierarchy breaks down, communication is impeded, employees aren’t engaged with the leadership.

How can an end-to-end cycle of data processing help you?

I know what you’re thinking… this is all well and good, but how does that help me understand analytics?

Consider the following statements:

  • In an age of diversity, where we understand communication and engagement methods/tools need to be adaptive and personalised.
  •  In an age of information, where data protection and governance take central roles, teams and processes need to be agile, consistent and secure.
  • In an age of fast-paced consumerism, change, and uncertainty, what can our customers, tell us about themselves  so we can provide better services?

These developments, are observed trends; companies who are transitioning from reactive to pro-active business models to tackle an uncertain future and maximise returns.


In HR, we usually report on human activity or process. To provide true insights, we take different cuts in time of the relationship between employee, technology, Company, the landscape. We simulate these models into the future, we dig into known and unknown relationship between variables, clustering… I could go on.  The most important lesson for me from all of this:

It’s alive! The Data Lives!”

I can review endless software, techniques, algorithms, and compare how different analytic set-ups are compared to others, but ultimately,  how your analytics is set up in your organisation is a mirror of your relationship with data.

If the 21st century is the era where humans are augmented thanks to use of the smartphone; It is also the century, where we are reinventing the way we come to decisions, process and interpret data, crafting further in which way we can be augmented and how we can maximise the use of our time in the workplace.

Still can’t find the pattern? Come grab a coffee!

This article was written by Luigi Ho-tien-ton, Director of Creative Solutions

You can connect with Luigi on social media on LinkedIn or contact Luigi directly on

At Cloud9 People we help all sizes of companies look at how they can add value to their people conversations, feel free to get in touch and see how we could help you. –

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