Everyone’s talking about big data these days! True, there are gains that come from making sense from a seeming chaos of disconnected and rough data. But that seems to us to be like herding cats.

We like long-joined-up data better. Data that is joined up like a time line – in other words ‘longitudinal’ – because that reflects real life and how business is done. Life and business is joined up – relationships are like story lines; experiences are a time based sequence of touch points; implementations are managed series of action points; contracts are time based agreements which move through milestones; transitions like mergers and acquisitions are time based change patterns and careers are employment journeys over time.

How your data is structured in the first place drives its value. So, how about starting to collect data in a joined up way? Customer or employee voice, for example, shouldn’t be a disconnected set of cross-sectional shots in the dark. If you simply ask people the same questions each time, then you start to build up a story of what is changing and why.

And if you’re really creative, you’ve created the opportunity to reflect back to people what they said last time – priceless as a way to show you are listening!

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