Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Data?

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Data?

Smart Farm: What you need to know

We see a lot of companies that sit on a gold mine of data but don’t know how to extract its value. You may be making your best effort to use your data to gain insights, but are you getting the most out of your data?

We’ve broken down the process into four basic stages to make sure you’re using your data to its fullest extent. The four stages are:

  1. Building a foundation to establish that you have accurate, useful data to work with.
  2. Sharing your data with the appropriate staff in a secure way.
  3. Automated visual reporting – it’s time to let go of old habits and get everyone on board with automated visual reports.
  4. AI automated insights will take you to the next level of efficiency and informed decision-making.

Wondering what all of that means? Don’t worry, we put in the hard work so it’s easy for you to get the most out of your data. We’re here to guide you step by step.

1. Building a Foundation

The first step to getting the most out of your data is to build a foundation that ensures that you have accurate, useful data to work with. Here’s how to do that:

Clear the roadblocks

If you’ve got data stored in various applications, forecasting tools, Excel spreadsheets – it’s a roadblock to a clear overall look at your data, and it opens the door to errors. Identify the data required for business reporting that is key to decision making.

Automate the process

Automating the loading of data into a Data Warehouse removes the need for manual loads, saves time and ensures the data is available at the right time.

Identify dirty data and gaps

Identifying your key KPI’s helps identify dirty data and gaps. You can then go back and fix your business process to ensure you have the right data for your reporting needs. As the data flow is automated, any changes automatically flow through to your Data Warehouse.

Organise the data

This is where the right Decision Intelligence tools do the work for you. Cloud-based software with a dashboard presentation will organise your data and present it with easy-to-use visuals.

Your data foundation provides the information you need to make data-driven decisions right now. It’s critical to get it right before you build on it in the next stage.

Smart Farm: What you need to know

2. Sharing your data

Once your Decision Intelligence system is in place, your data foundation is set and reporting is on a roll, it’s time to share your data with the right people to drive action. The best digital technology still relies on people to act on it.

Why sharing is crucial
The organisation as a whole needs to rely on the same data for consistent, confident decision-making. From high-level metrics down to detailed transactions, everyone views the same data – but only as much of it as they need to see. This ensures there is one single source of truth driving every decision while keeping your data secure.

Controlling access
Access to data is controlled according to each person’s role. The operations team needs to view data that allows them to do their day-to-day job, while the data scientist needs a different view to drive insights for longer-term decisions. Each person has access to data relevant to their job to enhance efficiency and focus in every department.

Informed decisions
The world doesn’t wait around while you make a decision. Automated reporting allows for access anytime and anywhere, so staff can utilise tools to collaborate and drive insights from the data in real-time. This drives efficient, informed decision-making across the organisation.

Sharing data while controlling access is key to driving informed and consistent decisions. You can say goodbye to the risky days of an employee relying on their gut instinct to make a critical decision. Everyone has the information they need to make solid data-driven decisions.

Smart Farm: What you need to know

3. Automated Visual Reporting

Automated visual reporting provides instant access to current data in an easy-to-use format. It will change the way your organization works, but everyone has to be on board with it. This will change expectations for staff performance.

Take it to the cloud

Thanks to the cloud, automated visual reports are accessible anytime, anywhere. No more waiting for a weekly report when one dashboard view displays your data narrative every day. Now the bar of expectations is raised to be ready for action, not ready to prepare for action.

Automate it

Automated visual reporting drives better and faster decision-making as outliers and issues are easily visible so you can quickly drill down to the root cause. Everyone in the organisation has to commit to using automated reports – and avoid reverting to the old ways (no more clunky Excel spreadsheets). This involves a culture shift in your business as you move towards being data-driven.

Improve efficiencies 

Staff must be ready to adapt to a new, streamlined way of doing things that supports instant decision-making. The time that used to be spent compiling and organizing data will now be used for decision-making. This means continually evolving with new information and insights and getting more insightful meaning out of a day’s work.

Any organisation can realise exciting advances with automated visual reporting.

Smart Farm: What you need to know

4.  AI and ML Automated Insights

Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is bringing the future into the now and using it to get insights is the final stage in getting the most out of your data. With AI automated insights, data analysis is delivered to you and highlighted on your visual dashboard to make targeted, quick data-driven decisions.

Utilise AI technologies 

Automated insights tell the story behind the data – what, when and why – doing the discovery work for you. AI techniques such as machine learning and natural language processing assist in delivering vital insights and predictions. Data reports become data stories, easy to understand and act on.

Meaningful insights

Having insights delivered to you means your focus can be on creating targeted responses and better data-driven decisions. No more time wasted on analysis means more time focused on action.

Get the most out of your data

Don’t let your organisation sit on a gold mine of data. Build a data foundation, share it with the right staff, use automated visual reporting and AI automated insights. You will save time and money while extracting real value from your data.

Is Excel Running Your Business?

Is Excel Running Your Business?


Excel is an amazing tool when developing reports, but the flaws quickly become more evident when multiple versions of the truth begin to waste time and cloud judgment.

Spreadsheet software like Excel used to be the go-to tool for business operations, for everything from tracking sales to payroll. However, while it has been a useful tool it’s not built to run today’s businesses. Decision Intelligence tools offer a more efficient and effective way to visualise your data and draw insights.

1. Human error

Misplaced decimal points, data entry errors, staff using copy and paste and merging records – each can introduce costly errors into your spreadsheet. It is too easy to end up with multiple versions of the same file, and thus multiple versions of the truth. Which one is correct?

2. Wasted time

Digging through spreadsheets for critical information. Finding out which copy of the file is the most recent. Verifying that you can trust the figures in front of you. Time spent entering data and generating reports. These should all be in the past. To be responsive to today’s changing world, you need information that you can react to in real time.

3. Unsecure data.

Using a program like Excel means you’re storing your data locally and any staff member could alter the data. Plus, if your system crashes or gets attacked by a virus, your data is compromised.


The solution?

One of our clients, Kirinari, is an NDIS community service provider. Like many providers, they experienced difficulties adjusting to the new NDIS requirements. They had multiple systems with data both on-premise and in the cloud, manually created reports, and issues with data quality.

Toustone worked with them to develop a solution. Using cloud-based software with a dashboard presentation ensures data is updated automatically and everyone sees the same information in real-time. Now, all of their data can be seen in one place. Reports can be generated with a couple of clicks.

Using Decision Intelligence reporting means their data is stored safely in the cloud with a track record of any changes made to it. With a glance, they can see if they are overspending or under-spending. It can be accessed on any given day and time, allowing for immediate response.

The takeaway

As data is increasingly relied on, make sure your business is using the best tools for the job. Decision Intelligence makes it simple for your business to make better data-driven decisions.

Contact us today to start your free demo of Toustone’s Decision Intelligence services and discover the potential of your organisation.

How Data Analysis Has Changed in the Last 10 Years

How Data Analysis Has Changed in the Last 10 Years

Smart Farm: What you need to know

Over the past ten years, technological change has had a major impact on data analysis, changing the way we process and look at data to enable a more efficient business.

Data automation has brought in a new level of efficiency highlighting the negative impacts excel can have on a business. Using excel for data analysis is a manual process that is time-consuming and produces data that is generally outdated by the time the final report is produced. 

Automated reports counter this by producing real-time data, enabling you to make quick informed decisions to create a better business. How can you create a better business?

Stop using obsolete data analysis methods

Doing things because it’s ‘the way it’s always been done’ means you’re falling behind. And it’s true for too many businesses today. Most of the effort put into data analysis goes to ‘keeping the lights on’ as they struggle to incorporate data into the core of their business strategy to drive new areas of growth.

Now, data is a critical asset. Over the last ten years, we’ve seen the volume of available data grow along with more sophisticated methods of extraction and analysis.

Consider this: in 2018, a global survey reported that 71% of enterprises predicted their investments in data and analytics would grow in the next 3 years and beyond. At the time of the survey, 52% were leveraging advanced and predictive analytics already. 

Is your organisation optimising data analysis? Or are you using old methods, getting stuck in the past?

Smart Farm: What you need to know

Getting started with data

Data analysis has come a long way in the past decade. Thanks to advanced technologies and teams of experts who can unlock it, we’re seeing the following become commonplace:

  • Data extraction is increasingly efficient, freeing up time for analysis and insights.
  • Real-time and automated reporting allow for real-time response – instead of investigating a drastic change days after it’s happened. 
  • No data is wasted, as it’s drawn from multiple sources and compiled automatically.
  • Dashboards allow for a comprehensive one-screen overview.
  • Organisations are looking at data from a holistic viewpoint, rather than a departmental one.
  • Insights are rapidly exposed, driving accurate decision-making – no more misinformed decisions or incorrect analysis.

These technologies are becoming more readily available making it easier for you to optimise your business performance.

Healthcare example

The potential changes to healthcare systems from having a comprehensive dashboard data analysis system are enormous, not just for the participants but for the bottom line. Enabling providers to drill down into their data assists in gauging the scope of their business and their participant needs. Collectively this can increase efficiency through faster access to data, which provides better care for the participants, quick informed decisions, and reduce expenditure. 

Getting your data right

The real value of data lies in how it is used. That is why it is critical to make sure you’re not only using the right tools for quality extraction and insights, but that your team is prepared to rely on the findings and know-how to utilise them.

If you’re searching for a tool to maximize your use of data, make sure you choose the right one for you. A demo of the platform can give you a hands-on feel to ensure it is intuitive, easy to use, and feels right for your organisation.

5 Advantages of Data-Driven Organisations

5 Advantages of Data-Driven Organisations

Smart Farm: What you need to know

Data-driven organisations make data science a core part of their business strategy, processes, and culture.

Data-driven organisations use data to revolutionise their business by creating a platform for fact-based decision-making. Being data-driven has clear advantages over those who just run on their ‘gut feeling.’ 

What are the advantages of data-driven organisations? Read on to find out.

1. They thrive on efficiency

Being data-driven creates an infrastructure of efficiency. Less time is spent hunting down data, compiling reports, and analyzing the meaning. This allows for more time spent focusing on the insights generated, easily recognizing patterns, and taking action based on what is learned. Using real-time insights for real-time decision-making saves time and money.

2. They are adaptable

The data-driven organisation is more responsive to a changing business environment. The ability to adjust your course and respond to the market with real-time insights means you can see what’s coming and seize new opportunities. We live in a digital age where changes occur rapidly, and we must adapt to stay relevant. Data is the key to future-proof your organisation.

3. They utilise every resource possible

Too many organisations have a lot of data but they don’t know what to do with it. This is like sitting on a gold mine and not knowing how to dig. The data-driven organisation wastes no resource. Every scrap of data is efficiently extracted and transformed into insights. Existing data is looked at in novel ways to garner more meaning. Is your organisation sitting on a gold mine of data? 

Smart Farm: What you need to know

4. They consider the organisation as a whole

Often people think that data only applies to certain departments, but for consistent, confident decision-making the whole organisation needs to rely on data. Consider the Navy SEALS as an example. When they decide on a mission, they have to take into consideration data from several areas before they act – things like political effects, organizations involved, and the latest intelligence gathering. Without a holistic approach each area would act on their own information. They would easily dissolve into chaos and, as former SEAL Brent Gleeson put it, be made to fight against ourselves before we could fight the enemy.

For effective collaboration, everyone in the organisation must use data to see the bigger picture and take efficient action. Relying on data takes the guesswork out of the equation and results in consistent decision-making across the board.

5. They experience exponential growth.

Amazon. Google. Their entire model is built around exploring data and using it to the fullest advantage. Fair to say the model has worked for them – imagine if Amazon had stuck to selling books.

Being driven by data unlocks efficiencies and allows you to adapt to whatever comes your way. It squeezes every last drop out of available resources and creates a cohesive organisational culture. It opens up the path to exponential growth.

Is Your Data Safe?

Is Your Data Safe?

Smart Farm: What you need to know

From June to December of 2019, more than 500 data breaches were reported in Australia. This was an increase of 19% over the previous six months… Is your data safe?

Health service providers were the leading source of data breaches, accounting for 22% of all breaches. Most of these were the result of malicious or criminal attacks such as malware, phishing, brute-force attack and compromised or stolen credentials. A third of the breaches were the result of human error. Just one of those reported breaches affected 10 million or more patients.

These numbers show the widespread problem of data breaches for health care providers. For the individuals affected, having their personal information sold on the black market creates a mess than can affect them for years. For the providers, on top of having to deal with notifying the individuals affected, the potential disruption to clinical activity, and the loss of confidence in your business, you now have to reassess your entire security system.

Clearly, protecting your data is just as important as protecting your business from disasters like fire or theft.

Data in different places

For many healthcare practices, data is stored in numerous locations. The patient’s file may be in a filing cabinet, or in a computer file. If a patient uses multiple providers, they may have files spread across doctor’s offices and hospitals. Who can make sure that all of this is kept safe?

The My Health Record system endeavoured to collate a person’s health data. However, it has been breached multiple times, risking exposure of personal information. As a result, legislation was passed so that Australians can opt in or out of My Health Record at any time.

Keeping data safe seems to be an unobtainable goal. How can you be confident that you’re doing everything possible?

Smart Farm: What you need to know

What you can do to secure your data

Preventative action is necessary to combat data breaches before they happen. 

  • Assess your existing privacy policy. Make sure it meets or exceeds the required standards and is available for anyone to find.
  • Review processes around data security.
  • Educate staff on procedures and the importance of data protection. Do it regularly so the information stays at top of mind. One employee error can expose the whole system.
  • Develop a data breach management strategy so that you’re prepared to contain a breach and minimize harm. A rapid response, transparency and decisive action can go a long way to mitigating damage.
  • Investing in Cyber Security Insurance is recommended. In the event of a breach, you can call on your insurance agent to help with security investigations, damage control and mitigation.

As data leaders, we are very passionate about data security. We urge everyone to ensure appropriate cybersecurity measures are in place and that staff are educated about their role in guarding against security risks.