Six Honest Serving Men

What data when

We all know the story of Jungle Book, Kim and The Man Who Would Be King, but how many of us know of Rudyard Kipling’s poetry, in particular ‘I Keep Six Honest Serving Men’?  It was originally written as part of the ‘Just So’ stories and tells of his daughter Josephine’s inquisitiveness. 

Now, I do not profess to be any form of literary intellect and those that know me personally will certainly attest to that.  However, the first verse of this poem is one that always comes back to me in all manner of circumstances.  Maybe that’s testimony to my own inquisitive nature or maybe it’s just that it seems to hold true in so many scenarios. 

I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who


What, Why, When, How, Where and Who –  the questions we ask everyday 

Recently we’ve been involved in the development of systems and solutions for clients who recognise that they need to make changes and improve the way they work.  From companies that fulfil commercial cleaning contracts, manufacture vehicle parts, supply engineering equipment all the way to companies that generate enquires online.  Whilst they are all more than capable of running and managing their businesses on a day to day basis, all of them have come to us looking for ways to improve the way they record and use data. Essentially, it’s about improving visibility and presenting all the data that enables them to make better decisions.

Which brings me back to my ‘six honest serving-men’.  What, Why, When, How, Where and Who are all the questions we ask, or should be asking (if you’re not, why not?). 

We want to know what’s happened at particular times, what’s the history of our relationship with a customer or what’s happened previously for a customer services issue to be successfully resolved. What the consequences are? Why has something happened, why did it take so long, why does a customer want something. When will an order be placed, when will parts be ready, when do I need to do something to move to the next stage in a process, when did we speak to a customer last. How have we got to this position, how will a decision be made, how long will something take to produce, how do we know what we know. Where is the client, where is a particular asset located, where do our leads come from. Who are we dealing with, who has the authority, who spoke to someone last, who last used a piece of equipment, who has responsibility. 

To continue to be successful and scale our businesses we all need to be inquisitive, When something goes well we need to understand Why it went well, What did we do to achieve this result, Who was involved, Where can we find similar opportunities or projects and How do we continually improve. 

So really that’s all common sense, isn’t it? 
The real issue comes when you can’t answer these questions or the time and effort required to answer them is such a distraction and cost that it outweighs the benefit. 

At Infonote we specialise in presenting your data where you need it when you need it, from on premise to cloud to hybrid and mobile apps for field based or remote workers.  Our solutions are based on proven frameworks that can be tailored to suit a specific industry, market or individual client.  For us the important thing is to ensure that the data is available to those that need it, when they need it. We also provide the tools to allow companies to collect and record data regardless of their location or role and collate this into a comprehensive 360° view for the whole company (applying levels of authorisation and security) to use. Furthermore, we can present this data in any form for ease of analysis and reporting, often using dashboards to graphically present key data relevant to a users role or department. 

So, next time you have a question, think about how easy it is to get the answer and how confident you are about the accuracy of that answer.  Call on Six Honest Serving-men and if you get into difficulty dial this number 01858 467746

See also: 

Achieving a single view – 

Field data challenges – 

How to make the most of your data –