We can all admit that most of us are drowning in data and we have long moved passed the days of “data” being the end game. Today, we all have the “data” we could ever need and our endgame is now learning how to extract the information we want from that data. So how do you use the information you have to make meaningful and important business decisions?
Understand Your Data Sources
Your data comes from multiple sources within multiple departments and understanding who is monitoring that data is an absolute necessity. You also need to understand what each disparate system is tracking how you can gain access and extract that data. Easier said than done but once you have this understanding you will then be able to discern which data sources are necessary to extract the information you are looking for and you can set the superfluous data aside.
Set and Understand Your Goals
Setting and understanding goals is a key factor in ensuring data quality which you can read more about here. Once you understand your data sources as we just talked about, you need to set your goals for not only extracting your information but also set the goals you are trying to achieve long term. For instance, you want to increase win rate, increase the number of visitors to your site, improve retention rate of your customers etc. These goals need a clear understanding of both the data you are pulling and the steps needed to achieve those goals. Understanding your goals also means understanding your product, your industry, your vertical and many other factors that influence your business decisions, so don’t miss seeing the forest through the trees.
Visualize Your Data
Now that you understand both your data sources and your goals, you need a way of visualizing your data. Here are 4 series of questions you should keep in mind when trying to visualize your data:
- Is it easily readable? By this we mean, can someone other than yourself look at the visualization of your data and understand what they are looking at and the key takeaways from the data?
- Is it accessible? Do you have easy and SECURE access to your data? Are you able to securely view your data and give other easy access to do the same?
- Is it repeatable? Are you able to look at your data any time you need? Are you dependent on someone else to run reports and fetch you the data?
- Can you filter your data? Are you able to take your data and form the parameters to your needs?
Now that you have an understanding of how to extract insight from you information, you should probably start thinking about the tools you should be using to help with this process, but we will leave that to another day.
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