Since you’re probably not living under a rock, you’ve most likely been watching the current US election. It’s been a roller coaster ride to say the least.
One of the many things seen for the first time in over a century during this election, is the very state of democracy being challenged in the US. The results of the election (even before it has taken place) are being called into question. There have been heavy hints that the election will be rigged and the results won’t be able to be trusted.
Many people have pointed out that it would be impossible to rig an election system on a national basis because votes are organized by each state and counting is decentralized at the precinct level, with members of both parties present at polling stations.
However, whether or not it is possible, seeds of doubt have been planted and are growing. We cannot command people to trust a system. Trust is a feeling. It is susceptible to cracks when there is confusion or lack of clarity in how data is collected and results are provided. When we consider business intelligence in our own organizations, we are just as susceptible to a lack of trust in the results. It is important to use a BI tool that allows trust to grow, rather than casting it into doubt.
In order for trust to be kept when working with data, we need to keep in mind two key aspects:
1. We need solid evidence and clear results. The information we end up with can’t be contradictory, mixed, or difficult to discern or explain.
In past elections, state results have been called into question, and while disputes have always been ironed out, these issues can cause trust to be shaken. The 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore which led to a legal battle lasting a month is one such case.
In our organizations, many times people need to work with different sources of data in order to make decisions. A solid BI tool will allow them to show solid evidence for their decisions in ways that are easy to explain and understand.
2. We must have confidence in the system and how it works.
While the size and different moving parts of the US election system make it difficult to rig, they may be the very aspects that make it hard for some people to maintain their trust of it. Many people don’t completely understand how it works, and they may see the vast numbers of people and organizations involved as weakening the system, rather than strengthening it.
In our organizations, people must have confidence in the system itself and how the results are obtained. A good BI tool’s ability to route a vast amount of information, from multiple sources, to a single dashboard allows for a single version of the truth to be presented to everyone. Furthermore, having a BI tool with the ability to allow people to prove the findings on their own by accessing and exploring the information through a self-discovery process increases confidence in the results and the system itself. This way no one is left in suspense.