We are so used to base our daily analysis and reporting on aggregated data rather than detailed data that we have forgotten to ask ourselves what kind of mistake we are making by doing so.
And indeed there is a price for this sort of simplification. Already Albert Einstein stated “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”. Building data aggregates turns out as being such an over-simplification in many if not most cases.
Actually the error margin attributed to neglecting the detail by relying on aggregates can easily be in the magnitude of 10%.
So far so good? Not really. Because with an error margin of 10% all improvement conclusions of less than 10%, let’s say 5% for example, are unfounded. Those findings might be real or a fallacy. What does this mean to our current management practice?
How come that we have been so ignorant about this issue? We just couldn’t do better with the traditional data analysis technology. But now we can. So why don’t we do it?