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This is how you generate the data that actually helps you make business decisions

written by Anastasia RamsaySep 26, 2017, 9:57:12 AM

Generating reports from data that actually provide you with the information you need to make high level business decisions is not easy.

In most cases, not only is their creation process heavily manual with the sourcing, collating and calculating data from numerous outputs, but the process lends itself to being time consuming and highly prone to errors.  

It's easy to see how only 29% of the companies who strive to be data driven are able to achieve this reality.  

So, how is their data different to yours?  They are able to transform their numbers from data to insights. 

What's the difference between your data and their insights? Well, quite a lot. To break it down, there are 6 key attributes that differentiate actionable insights from data. 

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1. Alignment 

This refers to how closely data insight aligns with business goals. Alignment is important as the closer the insight is aligned, the more drive there is to take action.   

If it's not clear to you what a metric means, you will be unsure of what action to take if the number significantly increases or decreases. This is a tell-tale sign that you are tracking a vanity metric. When your data clearly aligns with your Key Performance Indicators, it generates a clear sense of urgency and direction.  

This type of data is much easier to interpret into strategically aligned insights, which can then be translated into tactical responses. This is because these figures relate directly to key indicators you can control 

 

2. Context 

A key component on what makes data valuable is context. Like everything in life, it's hard to see the full benefits and ramifications, and thus have an opinion of value, without context.  

Your reaction to information heavily relies on context. Context allows us to ensure data drives action, rather than generate questions, skepticism and objections. 

 

3. Relevance 

An insight for one person can signify a strong call to action, and mean nothing for another, depending on the relevance of the information to their role within the organization. In order for data to be relevant, it must be shown to the right person, at the right time, in the right setting.  

For this, the right person is someone who has context and alignment with what the information represents, is given it at a time where they are able to take action, as well as it being presented in a way that is consumable.

 

4. Specificity 

Often, higher-level metric's used for measuring KPI's lack the details we need to understand causation. For example, only being presented with a KPI detailing a 27% increase in revenue last month might trigger the premature falling of party balloons, when deeper insights show that the increase was due to a large fraudulent online order that resulted in the miss representation of online order revenue.  

Having the specific data available helps to understand higher level KPIs, and drill down to them when further insight is required. 

 

5. Clarity 

People need information clarity to be able to act. For data to have clarity, it must be easy to understand, communicated clearly and important to them. The presentation of data plays an important role in it's adoption and driving action. 

 

 

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6. Novelty 

Human's are always attracted to the new and shiny, to the novel. The same applies to when we are presented with data.  

We are less likely to dig further when presented with an interesting data trend for the 10th time, as we feel it is just reinforcing our the findings and beliefs we developed from the initial investigation.  

Data that challenges and evolves our current knowledge and beliefs drives action.  

  

So, what's the 'secret sauce' that turns data into actionable insights?  

Technology. 

Those businesses who have utilized smart technology into key aspects of their business, like utilizing data intelligence tools, have created business leverage. Think turning data into actionable insights at a click of a button.  

Not only do they have a 'one up' on the visibility and control of their organization, they also have reduced their reporting time down to mere seconds. That's the power of technology in business. 

Whether it be Microsoft's Power BI or a custom made solution by experts, these businesses are playing it smart and reaping the rewards of being in the elite 29% driven by data.  

Sounds like something out of a dream, right? 

It can be anyone's reality. Start investigating your options on how your business can work smarter with technology.  

 

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About Anastasia Ramsay

Anastasia has graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Science Conjoint, before starting her career at Lancom. A big believer of customer-driven initiatives, Anna has joined our team to enhance our Digital Marketing capabilities. She loves rising to a challenge, learning and is driven by self-improvement.