At first glance, figuring out what data is important to your business may seem like an easy task. An increasing number of businesses are realizing big data can tell them things about their organization they may have never considered. However, the volume of available data is beyond manual analysis. Even with a consolidated management dashboard, a decision maker can become inundated with too much information. Analytics and data have shown heavy value in the marketing niche and in order to make use of the enormous amount of data today’s analytic platforms produce, you must first define a problem before you seek a solution.
To Find Answers You Need Answers
To get a grasp on what data matters to you organization, you must first gain a better understanding of what your current metrics are saying. You can use excel reporting in Hadoop to extract reports generated with your data. But first, you must understand what data you need to export. Reporting on random or standard metrics does not exploit the full capabilities of big data.
Businesses track an enormous amount of data from internal and external sources. The point of in-depth analytics is to find out things about your business only quantifiable data can tell you. Guessing what is important for your business, without analyzing what your numbers are telling you is putting the cart before the mule. Research you base on personal preference is just a glorified scoreboard. Meaningful data analysis begins by conducting a detailed investigation about what your data means, then using that information to execute actionable plans.
Who’s Data Counts?
Consider the data source when making decisions about what information you choose to track. Your metrics alone may not give you the answers you need. Business intelligence is an established, thriving industry. Before competitor information was available online, only the largest companies could afford to sustain the cost of obtaining and analyzing data. Now, business intelligence information is available to all businesses to some extent. For a realistic view of how your company is performing, you must benchmark your successes against those of your competitors. Knowing what areas you are competing in can help you decide what data sources are important.
Where Are the Fires?
If you are having problems within your organization, you have to isolate the business components that may have actionable data. A problem may originate in the marketing, operations, human resources, finance or legal component of your business. Or, the problem can involve any combination of these segments. With so many sources of data, you are bound to have answers somewhere. Data driven solutions always start at the problems and work backwards. By determining what internal threats exist in your organization, you can figure out what key metrics you need to track.
Case and point, Brilliant, a premium transportation service, increased their lead captures by 500% by simply skimming the behavior flow through their site and realizing that much of their traffic was dropping off on a pricing page. By removing the pricing page and having pricing happen after the lead conversion within a month as said earlier there was a 500% increase in leads.
Fires in data don't stand out like real fires all the time, but if you just simply gather the data and look at it, it become pretty obviou,s and the wins you get from making these types of data based decisions far outweigh the cost of getting the data.
What Are You Made Of?
The shape of your organization heavily influences what data is meaningful and actionable. What your business does can decide the general metrics you follow. A retail business pursues entirely different goals than a raw materials producer. By considering what it is your business does, you can avoid tracking vanity metrics. The stage your business is in can also dictate what data is important to watch. A business that is in the startup stage has completely different goals than a business that is fully matured. You can understand what metrics you need to track by observing where your organization stands within its life cycle.
What Makes You Strong
Eventually you will report the health of your business to someone. Company executives, financiers or public investors are a few of the types of principles you may report to. The data you track for these scenarios may not directly align with your current goals. Nevertheless, you should always have knowledge of how to track metrics that define how your organization appears to outside interests. This type of common metric can serve as an important, but secondary, aspect of what you use to make business decisions. Despite its importance as a standard measurement, you are limiting the view you have of your business if you do not look deeper onto your company’s available information. By combining data that reports on your internal goals with data that is meaningful to outside interests, you can get a balanced picture of your business' overall health.
You should never track metrics without first determining what information is impactful for your organization. High powered analytic data used in this fashion is a solution without a problem. Yet, organizations can take action on problems they would not see without access to this information. If you take the time to consider what data points are meaningful to your organization, you can unleash the power of big data for your business.