What To Do With Your Data

Data exists. Just because it isn’t being analyzed or segmented or even collected doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. So step one is collect your data. Here are a few things to think about after that.

Know your destination.
Focus on doing the right work before focusing on doing the work right. In baseball, the axiom is “you can’t win a pennant in April, but you can lose one.” For analysis projects, the parallel is “analyzing the right question does not guarantee a great analysis, but you seldom get one when looking at the wrong question.” Good analysis leads to action and change. Bad analysis done without a purpose leads to spinning wheels. Before embarking on any project, be clear on how the outcome leads to action.
Nail it down.
Never guess when the answer is readily available. As data sources, processing speed, and analytical techniques advance, the instances of using gut instinct are waning. Companies should design analytic systems that allow for quick retrieval of the right information. Then, they should challenge each other to actually use the information. Too much is at stake with each decision for baseless assumptions and guesses, especially when the information exists
The rule of threes.
Never do anything manually three times. Today’s insight-filled analysis is tomorrow’s spreadsheet or dashboard. Keep this in mind when starting a project. The first time, a project is coded by hand. The second time, the project is automated and run in parallel manually to check the results. There is no third time doing it by hand. When a project begins, have discussions about whether the work will be needed on a regular basis and if so, move to automate. Smart companies automate insights, freeing up manpower to find the next set of business-altering insights.

(via DM News)

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