The 80/20 Reality of Effective Data Management

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in Information Technology | No Comments

How the Pareto Principle Effects Data Management

Tropical big fish in a small fish bowlThe so-called “80/20 rule” has been applied to a lot of things, since its original discovery by the Italian economist Pareto in the 18th century. It essentially states that 20% of anything – be it employees, clients, or even tomato crops – will tend to yield around 80% of the results.

That makes it an interesting principle in the business world, but an especially important one when it comes to web usability testing tools. That’s because, whether you like capacity planning, performance management, or something else, these packages generate an incredible amount of data – and the better the tool is, the more data that come with it.

All of that information sounds like a great thing, and it can be, but it also brings a dilemma: How do organizations sift through and find what’s actually useful and actionable? And, how do they make the decision to invest in a great usability tool? Buying a low-end package doesn’t yield any useful insights, but buying the right one could give you so much information that you don’t know what to do with it.

This is a classic problem faced by organizations that try to manage all of their IT operations in-house. In fact, it’s a running joke within the industry that most IT organizations are data management tool graveyards, a place where once-expensive packages gather dust after a few months or years of diminishing use.

So, how does your organization get the web usability information it needs, without being overloaded or wasting money on expensive tools? The best answer is to avoid trying to manage the process yourself. Buying your own tools, training IT personnel, hiring expensive consultants for one-and-done engagements, and other legacy approaches have proven to be a waste of time and money. At best, they lead to a bit of a point-in-time insight, and at worst they fail to uncover the fundamental, actionable data that are actually needed.

A far better, more efficient approach is to blend the best of both worlds – get the high-level tools and expertise you would from outsourced consultants, but with an ongoing relationship that makes them more like in-house employees. By doing so, you can take advantage of all kinds of savings and productivity gains. That’s especially true now, where the web has enabled cloud-based solutions to give precise data at very low prices. By leveraging some outsourced expertise, you can take the burden off of your team to find the 20% of data that yields 80% of all actionable insights.

To put things a different way, using a virtual performance department is the perfect way to turn the 80/20 rule around. Instead of having it hold you back by forcing your team to look through useless details, it can become a point of efficiency and focus your attention on what matters most in usability testing.

If you want to turn the 80/20 nature of data management from a challenge to an opportunity, talk to Naalium today about an ongoing consulting package.

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