Collecting data won’t have much of an impact on your organization without the ability to analyze it. The right software and tools can make all the difference in the world and prevent you from sifting through mountains of numbers in an un-productive manner.
The key is to make sure that your data tools are making analysis easier and not more complicated. Here are a few things to consider as you go about selecting the right program for your organization.
Understand Your Need
It’s important to have a firm understanding on your software requirements. This includes the types of data you are looking to evaluate, and what type of results you want. It means having a well-thought-out plan and knowing how the data fits in to organizational execution.
This can help you better articulate your criteria to stakeholders and the software companies during your search.
It’s important to know what tasks you want the software to perform. You’ll need software that can handle the quantities and types of data that you are working with. Make sure you think ahead, with a specific idea of the projected growth of your data set. If you’ll have larger amounts of data in the future, that’s important information to consider now.
Industry Standard File Formats
If a data software program uses a proprietary or non-standard file format, compatibility with other software, machines, and networks will quickly become an issue. You may find it impossible to exchange data within your organization.
Other divisions in your company may use different software formats. There’s no value in analyzing data when you can’t easily share the results with others. Compatibility issues can also prevent you from being able to analyze other corporate data.
If you need to save large amounts of data, the ability to save in a binary format will also help.
Ease of Use
You should be able to quickly import data from other locations when you start with new data analysis software. You should also have access to a spreadsheet, or basic data entry form that you can use for keyboard entry. It can take time to learn the advanced features on a large program, but the basic functions should be intuitive.
You Should Still Probably Have a Basic Understanding of Data Analysis
The power of computers and software applications have made data analysis immeasurably easier and more convenient over the years. Complex processes can be performed at the push of a button. But there’s no arguing with the fact that someone who knows how to analyze the information in front of them will harness a lot more power.
Anyone can click a few buttons and perform some basic functions. But without a strong foundation and intimate understanding of analysis, you may not get the most out of this information. You wouldn’t expect the electrician to fix a burst pipe. It can be unrealistic to expect someone within your organization who doesn’t have a data analysis background to get the most insight from the numbers.
Make sure you take in the complete picture as you consider new data analysis software for your organization. The tools you use for this job will go a long way in determining how successful you are in meeting your objectives.