For many, pouring over data to receive an up-to-the-minute update on how your business is performing can be addicting. They need this data to make informed decisions, but the types of data they pay attention to is critical.
For instance, it’s important to steer clear of vanity metrics that don’t really give you much information about how your business is performing. That can be website traffic, page views, or social media likes and shares. These metrics don’t give us any insight on how to improve our business.
Now, if a business chooses to look at website conversions and social media referrals, those data sets may have more impact on the financial health of your company, and how it can grow. When you pay attention to the right data, it can have a tremendous impact.
Clean, Unbiased Data
It helps to define the type of data that might be useful to your company. The more specific you can be, the better. It also helps to understand who will be in charge of managing specific metadata. Problems in communication within the c-suite can lead to companies collecting too much data, or redundant data sets.
You can use automation techniques to collect this information, and save your staff a tremendous amount of time. Putting in your work early to keep the data organized can make it easier in the long run.
How Much Data You Analyze Matters
It’s critical to understand when a dataset is large enough, and extraneous data points hold no bearing on the results. Experimenting, and adding data incrementally can offer insights on when this is the case. Companies can also set limits and only collect the types of data that they will need to analyze down the road.
Our increased ability to collect data hasn’t been matched with an understanding of how to filter it. As the mountain of data gets larger, it’s no longer as easy to mine it for the most useful information – unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. When you have clear control of your objectives, it’s easier to look for the proper supporting data, but it doesn’t always happen in that order.
Companies can also do more to map out the data that’s already within their confines. This can present a clearer picture of who has access to what. This step can prevent multiple employees from within a company purchasing or working with the same data sets, and reduce organizational redundancies.
The Human Touch
Data is an excellent way to remove the footprint of human bias and emotion. It can help detect patterns and establish factors we’d otherwise never consider. But human input is still critical in the decision-making process. Humans can detect nuances and see multiple steps into the future.
The evolution of data and machine learning is powerful, but it’s that human touch that can truly drive innovation. Situations may arise where a data-driven recommendation may need to be overruled. The numbers may work against what we know about human interactions. What we do with the numbers still requires a higher level of creativity.
Evaluating data without any regards to the end plan can be counterproductive. But refining your organization’s approach can make a significant impact on your efforts.