Most companies have an abundance of data in their possession. You probably track all sorts of information about your business, customers and processes. Are you using your data to its fullest potential, though? Having the information is only helpful if you know how to use it.
Data analytics is the process of investigating your information to draw conclusions about it. If you’re struggling to manage your analytics, here are ways to do so.
Understand Your Goals
Before you can use data analytics, you need to understand your goals. What patterns do you want to identify? What trends can give you answers to your questions?
Here’s an example for an insurance company. Your brokers may be grappling with the best way to identify the most promising customers. In this case, try using insurance predictive analytics. The process can look at the emails and calls that brokers receive and study the subjects of their conversations. Then it can create responses and workflows based on the data.
From there, brokers can learn what questions to ask so that they lead customers to the products they want. Brokers can also use the information to identify bottlenecks, minimizing wait times.
See What Data You Have
You may know you have information, but do you know exactly what it is? How about where it is?
You may have data stored in paper files or legacy applications that you haven’t accessed in a while. Don’t disregard it because it’s old — the more information you have, the deeper your insights can be.
Check for missing and duplicate data as you collect it. They can skew your results.
Take Small Steps
Before you go out and hire someone to manage your analytics, look within your current workforce. Is there someone willing and able to learn analytics skills and lead the company’s efforts?
It’s OK to start small. You can begin with a few key metrics and experiment with low-cost analytics tools. These initial steps may even spark interest in your team members, creating the desire to learn more about analytics and the questions it can answer.
An intriguing and creative place to start is data visualization. It is the process of putting data into a graphic that makes it easy to understand and interpret. Types of data visualization include:
- Box plots
- Pie charts
Putting data in an easy-to-read format makes it more coherent. It puts trends on display for more informed planning. Also, data visualization gives you a tangible format to share at presentations. Making your insights accessible to everyone can give you an advantage when you’re vying for resources.
Use the OODA Loop
Once you put your analytics information into a plan, be prepared to alter it as necessary. The OODA strategy is to:
- Observe: Look at outside information, relevant data sets and changing circumstances.
- Orient: Align new and old information.
- Decide: Consider alternatives based on what you’ve learned so far.
- Act: Your plan should be more accurate if you’ve been flexible enough to incorporate new information.
One example of an OODA loop application is disaster recovery. If a storm hits your warehouse, you need to update information and adjust your plan continually as circumstances evolve and change.
Reap the Rewards
You’ve put in the hard work — now enjoy the benefits your information offers you. The beauty of data analytics is that the possible uses are nearly infinite. You can apply analytics to the smallest improvements and your largest projects.
Whether you’re analyzing the success of a new product, streamlining your internal communication process, or reducing staff turnover, your company’s analytics process can help you see your path forward.