DATA DATA DATA – December 2022

Do you want to grow your business, innovate, drive efficiencies, &/or create new revenue streams? Of course, you do! Well data is the starting point…and this is the only data-focused roundup you’ll ever need!


Tell me…who doesn’t love a Christmas-related statistic? Here are some of the best ones for the UK in 2022…

  • £1,696 – the average spend per head in London 
  • £24 – the average spend on cards and vouchers
  • 16% – the percentage of people who do all their shopping online
  • Clothing – the gift people usually buy themselves (yep, I did that)
  • Argos – the most popular UK online store
  • 34% – the percentage of people who expect to curb their spend due to inflation
  • 51% – the percentage of businesses who have increased their prices due to inflation
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These statistics all come from one of my favourite data places – Statista.

At Data3, our Christmas Team Quiz was all based around statistics like this…oh yes, we’re that much of a fun team!


In DATA DATA DATA, I want to share the most important lessons learnt that I’ve realised in the last 5 years since I set up Data3 and started working with SMEs on their data challenges and data opportunities.

This time, it’s – start in the place where you’ll get the most help.

After 20 years working in enterprises and corporates, I know how much of a challenge it can be working with people…! And, when it comes to a data project, I totally understand that driving cross-departmental business change will sound like an absolute nightmare of a people challenge. So, what I’ve learnt, is to start in the business areas where you’re most welcomed, where the business leaders are the most digitally savvy, and where you have a good chance of success. Instead of starting in the business areas which, perhaps might have the biggest need, but where you know the business leaders don’t see the potential value and will not champion and sponsor the data project.

By starting with a business area where you have support and advocacy, you are much more likely to be able to demonstrate the commercial value of data. You can build great data solutions, you can share valued dashboards and analytics, and you can deliver value quickly. Your aim should be to generate such a buzz, and show so much value from your data project, that every business area will come to you asking for your help.

My advice is to select a business area where you know you’ll have less people issues, less politics, and less obstacles. Go make a big impact quickly, tell everyone about it, show the demonstrable returns of investing in data, such as money-saving and revenue-generation, and see how quickly your biggest detractors start asking for your help with their data challenges and opportunities. 

So, challenge yourself today – are you focusing in the right areas where you can make an impact and build a buzz? Or are you banging your head ahead a brick wall and making little to no impact?  


I LOVE seeing examples of good/bad/funny data visualisations, data wins, data mistakes, and more. Of course, we must go Christmas-related in this issue, so here are my favourites…albeit I admit they’re more gloomy than cheery which must say something about me, I’m sure.

Not everyone looked forward to Christmas you know…

Chart: Not Everyone Is Looking Forward to Christmas | Statista
Not Everyone Is Looking Forward to Christmas

And Christmas costs a fortune, you know…

How much your Christmas dinner has gone up by in just one year, from turkey  to Brussels sprouts
How much your Christmas dinner has gone up by in just one year, from turkey to Brussels sprouts

And Christmas is a shocking health and safety risk, you know…


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Christmas Safety

Have you seen any examples of data craziness you want to share? Please drop me a line.


In the first five issues of DATA DATA DATA, I focused on the most frequent questions, the team and I get asked – Microsoft or AWS? Power BI or Tableau? Off-the-shelf or DIY? Recruit in-house or use a data consultancy? Data engineer or a data scientist? And data lake, database, or data warehouse?

This time, it’s Dashboard or Insight Report?

We all call data outputs and visualisations different things don’t we…dashboards, reports, trackers, pulses, and similar. So, a common question we’re often asked is…which one do we need?

Let’s simplify them into two basic types:

  1. A dashboard – a factual, descriptive view of business metrics using the latest available data
  2. An insight report – a way of showing the hidden patterns and trends within data

A dashboard is great when you want to give business users an easy way to explore data and find out answers to business questions for themselves. The dashboard is a way to order, structure and slice and dice data. A dashboard doesn’t know what story the data will tell, as the data will change all the time, so it provides a framework to display any data-related trends in a logical order. A great dashboard is intuitive and enables a user to see key business metrics quickly. It often enables a business user to filter and slice and dice the data in different ways – such as by timescale, location, product, department, person, and similar. 

Whereas an insight report is great when you want to tell business users a story about what the data tells you. The insight report is a way to share the patterns and trends hidden within the data and to highlight the new things you’ve learnt. An insight report often uses historical data and is delivered as a one-off, or annual report, to inform business users on what’s happened in the past. It can tell business users what the trends have been, what hypotheses have been proven/disproven, what business targets have been met/not, as well as how the business could perform is future.

So, when deciding what type of data output you need, think about what you’re trying to achieve with it – is it a tool for business users to view data trends with the latest data (so a dashboard)? Or is it a way to tell business users a story about what patterns and trends are hidden in the data (so an insight report)?

In future issues of DATA DATA DATA, I’ll cover other frequent questions that I’ve come across when talking data with our clients…anyone want to guess what they are?!


In this issue, I defer to the big man Santa for a data quote…

It's Christmas Time – Your Best Resources About Machine Learning for  Holiday Season! -

In future issues, I’ll share more quotes I hear, quotes I read, quotes you tell me about, and more – what’s your favourite data-related quote? Let me know and we’ll find a data-related prize for the best one.


As it’s Christmas, and we’re so damn lovely, we’re giving away a Data3 festive box which is rammed full of all sorts of fab data-related things like my book The Data Escalator, branded pens, mugs, notepads and much, much more. Want to get your hands on one? Well, all you have to do is ask, so please email me at

In future issues, I’ll share links to super useful, completely FREE videos, guides, templates, and similar…so, there are loads more freebies to come.

Thank you for reading…I’ll be back soon with more data news in 2023. 

And, if you’re in data hell, I’m data Hels!

Helen Tanner

Founder of Data3 + BoomBoard