Analytics Turns Your Data to Action
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Analytics Turns Your Data to Action

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Philip Lima
Tuesday April 11, 2017

Napoleon Bonaparte was once quoted as saying that “War is ninety percent information.” These days, one might similarly say that the same is true when it comes to doing business in the digital age. In fact, according to numbers released in 2015 by Salesforce, the amount of data sources being actively analyzed are predicted to increase by a staggering eighty-three percent by 2020. That is an amazing amount of information, much of which will be funneled into nearly every facet of business intelligence (often in the form of analytics solutions).

Just as in war, of course, combat intelligence information without proper context can lead to disaster instead of victory. Just ask Napoleon… bad intelligence was a big factor in his final defeat at Waterloo. With his 72,000 French troops about to face a British force of 68,000 soldiers, he knew the numbers were too close and that his cavalry would likely be the deciding factor. However, the battleground was muddy and waterlogged that morning (which would affect the momentum of his horses). Therefore, he chose to wait until midday to attack, when the ground has firmed up a bit. What he did not know, unfortunately for him, was that this delay allowed a reinforcement unit of 30,000 men the time they needed to reach the main British force. When Napoleon sounded the charge, he did so without realizing that he was now terribly outnumbered.

Needless to say… things did not go well for Napoleon that day.

As more and more of today’s businesses have adopted analytics tools and solutions, they have come to realize the value of data collection. However, some of these businesses have also learned (and many learned “the hard way”) that all the collected data in the world does not amount to a hill of beans if it is not deciphered in such a way that it provides actionable insights. You may wonder, what is the path from data to action?

The Path from Data to Action As already stated, data that does not lead to action is fairly useless. That is where analytics comes in, taking you data and providing you with insights that empower you to take action. The path from data to action might be better understood with the following example:

Data – this is simply a raw number, data without context. For example, a website has 6,700 unique visitors in one week.

Information – this data in context. For example, a bar graph that displays weekly visitors to the site for the last weeks. If in the previous weeks the site had, say, an average of about 2,200 visitors, then this would mean there has been a considerable spike in the most current week. However, without insight, this is still just limited information.

Insight – this is where data in context is bridged to future actions and outcomes. For example, graphs that show visitor traffic to specific landing pages. Upon inspection, you discover that the vast majority of new visitors went to one or two specific landing pages on the site. This provides an insight—something on those landing pages is luring more visitors. Perhaps the topic is a hot issue or a combination of keywords is improving your SEO. This insight can allow for action.

Action – Simply put, a decision based on one or more insights gained from data/information. That decision could be to add more hot-button keywords to your SEO strategy. Or perhaps to post a series of articles to the site’s blog that cover a popular topic.

Outcomes – Once actions have been implemented, they should be tested for outcomes by analyzing future data. For example, does site traffic stay spiked? Does the visitation spike continue to increase? Does it slump back closer to previous levels? Based on these outcomes, further insights can be gained and used to implement further actions that lead to positive outcomes.

Remember. Your data should be working for your business, not dragging it down. And, with the right analytics solution, it will work for your business. Analytics takes your business down a path toward better outcomes by turning data into actions.

Contact us if you would like to discuss how we can help make you more successful with data analytics.

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