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The Problem With Handling Data From Multiple Sources

We recently conducted a poll posing the question ‘What do you find the most challenging when presenting and analysing Data?’ in Schools and Trusts, with a number of options for participants to choose from. After reviewing the results we found that handling data from multiple sources was the most common obstacle to successfully analysing data.

This is not really a surprise when you consider that Multi-Academy Trusts, for example, comprise of multiple establishments, frequently with a myriad of MIS's such as SIMS, Arbor, Bromcom, iSAMS, Schoolbase to name a few.  Then add to that if you'd like to analyse individual School and Trust data from finance and HR systems, and the whole thing becomes waaaay more complicated!

One solution to this problem could be to use a data integration and management tool to combine data from multiple sources and create a centralised, easily accessible location for the data. This can help to streamline the process of gathering and analysing data from multiple sources, as well as ensuring that the data is accurate and consistent.  Additionally, using a data visualisation tool can help to present the data in an easily understandable format, making it simpler for decision makers to identify trends and patterns.

It's also important to establish clear guidelines and protocols for how data should be collected and stored, to ensure that it is accurate and up to date. This can involve creating a detailed data dictionary, setting up data validation checks, and developing a system for regular data quality checks.

Ensuring that data is organised and properly labelled also helps with the presentation and analysis of data. A common format and clear labels can help to ensure that the data is easily understandable to all members of your team.

Additionally, implementing a data governance framework can help ensure that data is used ethically and in compliance with any relevant regulations.

It's worth noting that a one-size-fits-all solution does not suit all, you may need to evaluate what is the best for your specific establishment and team. An expert on data integration or data visualisation could help you design a better solution.

Posted on January 13th 2023

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