Big data has been changing the playing field for many businesses. But collecting that data is just the beginning. You need to be able to make sense of the information that is hidden within the data. Whether you are tracking customer data, website analytics, viewer demographics, or app users, there are different ways you can maximize your analytics. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to make sure you are maximizing your data management efforts.
Do You Understand Your Data?
This first question is surprisingly difficult to answer in the positive. Big data is confusing simply because there is so much of it. You should not be concerned with maintaining an in depth understanding of the individual data points, but rather the methods and sources of your information. If you are willing to make business decisions based on the insights provided by your analytics, you should certainly have a basic understanding of where those insights are coming from.
Are You Using Data to Answer Big Business Questions?
Secondly, you need to ask yourself how you are using your data. Is it with the purpose of answering big business questions? Because it should be. In order to avoid wasting precious time and resources, you should use your analytics to answer questions about customer preference, project effectivity, operation success and so on. To do that, you need to find out what kind of business problem or challenge can be addressed with the data you have, and then make sure that the data is current, accurate, and offers real insight into your business.
Are You Differentiating Data By Business Function?
Sales data is good for influencing sales decisions. Marketing insights should be drawn from feedback on your marketing programs. Maintenance decisions should be made based on past service information. It might seem obvious, but to achieve real business value, you need to be able to operationalize the results of your data analysis. Not doing so is a huge loss in opportunity and wasted effort. Think about your data, and what you hope to achieve by tracking it. Being strategic in what data you choose to collect is what will ensure value in the long term. Think about what business functions would be most optimized, improved, see a reduction in cost, or a boost in profits to know where to start.
Are You Effectively Leveraging Data Innovation?
We live in a time when it seems like a new, game changing technology arrives on the scene every week. The fact is that not every innovation will be worth while, but at the same time there are certainly going to be some that will have an impact on how your industry is doing business. The best way to avoid being left behind is to monitor the competition. Some things might be a good fit for your neighbor, but would be wasted investment based on your business function and analytics. Use your best judgement about what data innovations are relevant to your company and your data.