Jan

19

2017

3 Ways Data Can Help You Rapidly Gain Insight Into Your Business

By: Jonathan Agee and David Brown

 

Data is the foundation of any modern business. If you aren’t transforming that data into intelligence, however, it’s not going to make a difference for your business. You have to use data to gain insight into your business and you have to do it rapidly just to survive in today’s marketplace.

According to a recent global study by Forbes that surveyed more than 400 senior IT and business professionals, data literacy is today’s must-have skill. Are you confident in your company’s ability to turn raw data into meaningful and useful information for decision making? Do you have experience in implementing successful business intelligence projects? If not, here are three ways data can get you started on rapidly gaining insight into your business:

1. Visual Data Exploration

It starts with the right data visualization software. Even if you’re not satisfied with the quality of your data, at least you can start exploring whatever data you do have and see what’s going on. Trends, outliers and relationships are some of the things you’re looking for as you’re beginning visual data exploration.

According to the Forbes study above, “73% of respondents say improving data visualization is a strategic imperative; 64% agree self-service data analysis models create a significant competitive advantage; and 63% believe distributed self-service enables end-users to develop more visually compelling analysis.” Once you visually explore your data, it changes the conversation and gets people excited.

2. Relevant Data Blending 

Many people don't look at profitability at a low enough level of detail. Looking at the overall P&L often doesn’t give you insights into which activities are the real winners and which are the losers. Focusing on your most profitable activities and eliminating unprofitable ones can quickly improve your bottom line and meet your business goals. You can accomplish this by blending revenue and cost data that you don’t usually see together. As 20% of respondents in the above study indicated, data blending is the most challenging issue to enabling self-service access, but it can give you interesting insights. BI consultants are great resources for this if you don’t have the internal capabilities to see it through.

3. Daily Status Dashboard Implementation

Business owners have questions that they need answered every day. By implementing a daily status dashboard, you can keep track of your most important data and quickly reference it at any given moment. Even if you’ve already discussed a dashboard or have one in place, are you really using it? Implementing one will help you learn more from your business.

These are just a few ways data can give you rapid insight into your business. By turning your data into intelligence, it will deliver the quick wins you’re seeking.
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