Working with data in the PIE Abacus

Turning opinions into data

The PIE Abacus allows any large organisation, network or project to use the opinions of its participants as data that can be mined.

The first thing, of course, as with any software, is to get access to use it. And for that, you – or the agency you work for - will need an account. For the route to an account, see: Getting started with an Abacus account : HERE

That gets you a licence, and a licence code, which lets you and your staff in to the software and the specific location (in cyberspace) for your personal account.

Having a PIE Abacus team licence then allows you and any others in your organisation or network to carry out a range of inter-related activities:

  1. to enter the data of your/their views and plans
  2. to re-visit and re-read the data
  3. to share and pool your data
  4. to analyse your shared data for patterns
  5. to produce and share reports with others


Extending participation

Let’s first spell that out a little more here, from the point of view of a 'PIE Abacus lead' in any agency or network. But you can also download a copy of the 'essential briefing' for PIE leads, which will go into rather more detail. You will find that HERE.

All of the participants in your network of services - all those you invite to participate, be they 'frontline' staff, ancillary staff, volunteers, customers, partner agencies, even members of the public - can enter their opinions on their assessment, evidence etc either with their own views as an individuals, or as a group (with a 'scribe' on behalf of a group or  team - we’ll come back later to see how significant that can be for complex needs services.)

Opinions as data 

Although the 'evidence' that any team will provide is entirely your/their own choice as to what is relevant, and the diagnosis and action plan even more so, the assessment beads are set to 'snap' to any one of five possible positions in each band. In this way they can be treated as point on a Likert scale, and so can be used as quantified (strictly speaking, 'quantized') data.

Your teams can then re-read and adjust the own data, the views and plans; and can come back to it later, as many times as they wish, to check and record what progress they may have made with their action plans.

And they - or you - you can collaborate with others, sharing and also pooling your data to produce a bigger picture, a collective view.  You can then analyse the data you have shared for any interesting patterns identified through your collaboration - significant clusters around any particular issues.

You can then look for widely shared views, and whether that means some services or areas doing especially well, that you can learn from; or others that are struggling, and may need either extra support. It can help you spot issues that are widespread, and so may need some form of more systematic change.


The advantages of on-line

Of course, these are all things that you can do perfectly well face to face, in a small group, with just a general discussion (See: Weighting the costs and value added of the PIE Abacus, HERE).

But because this data is now electronic, you can share it with greater numbers of people and teams; and over much greater distances, wherever and with whoever it seems relevant to collaborate to share views and plans.

In the next sections, we will tease out the implications of this, for developing communities of practice, at local level, and beyond.

Further reading/viewing/listening


PIElink pages

The PIE Abacus - an on-line Pizazz (summary) : HERE

FAQ - PIE Abacus use and terms of use : HERE

Getting started with an Abacus account : HERE

The inner game of PIE : HERE


Library items

Five typical scenarios (NB: not yet up-loaded)

  1. A small specialist agency
  2. A larger organisation
  3. A locality network
  4. A community or practice
  5. A research project

The PIE Abacus - essential briefing for PIE leads : HERE

Weighting the costs and value added of the PIE Abacus, HERE).