Gathering data is a key part of many business’s activities from a small one person concern up to a multinational corporation: data comes in from various sources these days from conventional data forms both on websites and in print, through social media, via apps and many more.
Data is pure gold when it comes to a business understanding its customers, the marketplace and much more – but in order to make meaningful use of the torrent of data pouring in it has to be analysed properly and professionally.
What sort of information can data provide?
In short, almost anything down to the finest detail depending on how thorough the initial data gathering has been.
Businesses can now more than ever learn much about their customers, prospects, the industry they operate in and its trends, buying habits, usage patterns and other variables.
Data isn’t just restricted to customers and marketing: for example, modern production techniques mean data from machines on the production floor can be used to determine when maintenance may be required, to collate facts regarding downtimes, gather production stats and more.
Data analytics not only gives businesses an understanding of the ‘where we are now’ situation but also provides insights to inform future directions, actions and other key strategic business decisions.
How to make the most of your data
The above introduction to data analytics shows how important and useful your data can be – so how do you make the most of it?
The key is in using data analytics consultants: these professionals not only understand how to access and interpret what your data is telling you, but have the resources to do this through the use and deployment of modern and sophisticated data analytics facilities by data scientists and other skilled personnel.
Another key benefit of using a data analytics consultants’ are their ability to put the results in easy to digest form for you such as clear reports, dashboards and other means. For instance, a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) report can show information based on various metrics to provide meaningful intelligence on aspects such as customer retention, production figures against targets and profitability information to name a few.
Getting rid of guesswork and opinions
Proper use of your data through professional analytics gives you the unvarnished truth and gets rid of guesswork and the subjective element. All too often basic data analysis by a non-specialist can allow too many variables that can cause inaccurate conclusions to be drawn when data is too open to interpretation.
Professionals using technologies such as Microsoft data analytics including SQL and R to develop data analysis specifically for your business means you get valuable intelligence that can help you make the most of data whether, for example, running a sales campaign and scoring leads or examining current buyer trends.
Professional data analytics means you work with cold hard facts and not assumptions and guesses.
Is professional data analytics a costly exercise?
Not when you consider how much productivity and increased sales could likely result from knowing your customers, prospects and general marketplace better coupled with probable improvements in your business practices based on accurate data analytics.
It’s very much a case of looking at the long-term cost effectiveness of making the most of your hard-won data through accurate analytics compared to either not getting the maximum information from your data or, worse, misinterpreting it.
Your expert data analytics provider would be able to discuss your needs based on your budget and suggest options.
What analytics tools and techniques exist?
They are many and varied, and what’s deployed depends on the type of data analytics being undertaken. Some examples:
Microsoft Power BI – a powerful software suite based around business intelligence provision with easy-to-understand dashboards and visualisations containing detailed reports.
Data warehouses – where data is pulled from disparate sources and put into a ‘single view’ environment: an effective way to handle huge amounts of data. This is not just another database, it is a vital tool in your toolkit for successful, reliable analytics.
Predictive analytics – using the latest in machine learning tech to ‘learn’ from data and build intelligent systems to help predict future trends and answer key business questions.
What would be the best introduction to data analytics for our business?
Talk to an analytics consultant: they’ll start by looking to understand your business challenges, your aims and objectives and what you wish to gain from your data.
Whether it’s to understand your market better, run effective sales campaigns, predict future business trends to help plan strategy or other priority, an effective data analytics service can be customised for you.
You may wish a data analytics company to undertake your entire analytics activities or to dovetail with your existing team: either should be possible.