Big Data

How to Use Data to Make Informed Business Decisions


Finding new product ideas, talented employees, and strategically advantageous business partners becomes straightforward if you acquire reliable, qualitative insights. However, data quality management (DQM) has several nuances, highlighting the need for more experienced analysts. This post will discuss the art of research and navigating data to ensure you make informed business decisions.

What is Data Analytics?

Data analytics leverages modern technologies like computer-aided statistical problem modeling and unstructured data processing to identify methods that help businesses increase efficiency. Therefore, most global enterprises heavily invest in developing or procuring custom analytics services.

They use analytics across supply chain management, human resources, inventory control, customer relations, risk mitigation, and marketing operations. The related analyst teams are responsible for anomaly detection, reporting, and brainstorming to find solutions to the discovered performance issues.

Independent professionals will be present depending on the organization’s scale, leading the extract-transform-load (ETL) pipeline design. After deploying the specified data operating workflows, these talented individuals must oversee all the maintenance and DQM activities.

Requirements of Ideal Data Analytics and Research

1| Business Relevance

A practical data analysis approach avoids deviating from the client organization’s core values, mission statements, and business unit objectives. So, if the data analyst serves the financial service-providing firms, focusing on the appropriate data points is vital. Meanwhile, the scope of operations must be related to the primary target market and industry.

A company can serve multiple markets and deliver a wide range of multi-sectorial offerings. Still, the insights applicable to one business area might not be suitable for making decisions for another department’s needs. While conducting separate analyses for each business unit will cost more initially, reliability and use case relevance must be your top priority.

2| Automated Processing

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) models, cloud computing, and natural language processing (NLP) enable corporations to benefit from extensive process automation for analytics. Their automation-friendly integrations will also empower your employees to gain insights without spending manual effort.

Nevertheless, a few established domain experts must supervise how automated analytics systems function. Due to technical and cybersecurity concerns, maintaining a balance between automation and human intervention is non-negotiable.

As of now, AI and NLP tools have become more resilient to manipulation and fake information. However, employing wise minds to cross-verify the findings of automated analytics is one of the good practices in this industry.

3| Ease of Reporting

Developing a complex machine that nobody can use is equivalent to wasting resources. Therefore, selecting tools and workflows that your employees can quickly learn and use will be crucial. Besides, simplified user interfaces eliminate the need for long-duration skill training sessions.

Analytics projects have the reporting stage, where the insights discovered during data processing must be compiled and communicated. Frequently, the audience comprises professionals from different professional backgrounds. So, the presenters must optimize report creation and visualization to facilitate clear, concise, and inclusive communication.

Finally, reports must offer flexibility. Today’s data visualization systems fulfill this need through drag-and-drop approaches and “user-defined dashboards.” Simultaneously, each reporting view must have a version history log to hold employees responsible for the changes they make to the dashboards.

How to Make Informed Business Decisions Using Data?

Step 1 – Goal Determination

Specifying why your company requires the identified data points allows for outcome-oriented data gathering, storage, processing, reporting, and decision-making. A goal must often leverage a well-recognized framework to reduce reliance on intuition or outdated perspectives. Consider what makes a goal SMART.

It must be specific, having a fixed timeline, measurable performance metrics, realistic milestones, and a straightforward connection to your profit or impact expectations.

Step 2 – Scope Limitation

Gathering a lot of data just because you have the capital and IT resources to do so is an inefficient attitude toward data analytics. After all, narrowing the scope of data collection will result in significant cost reduction across data storage and transfer.

Focus on collecting data points and intelligence linked to your SMART goals. Ignore all the excess “data noise” that has negligible contribution to your policy innovation.

Step 3 – Source Identification

If you sell toys, comic books, pop culture commodities, parenting guides, or fashionable clothing, using platforms like Facebook, TikTok, or Snapchat in your social listening analytics is reasonable. However, a brand offering business-to-business (B2B) products or services must focus more on LinekdIn, industry magazines, reputable news publications, and research journals.

The data source’s authoritativeness will influence the practical worth of insights you get through analytics, business intelligence, and visual reports. Consider whether a data source has the domain-specific information you require for your particular use case.

Step 4 – Data Gathering

Manual data collection makes you less competitive, proving the urgency to automate your data acquisition techniques. At the same time, you want to create advanced data categorization mechanisms to streamline how you store data.

Current NLP and advanced analytics ecosystems can help you auto-label and distinguish data objects, including unstructured ones like videos or audio tracks. As a result, you can divide your budget between standard analytical processes and ML-powered advanced analytics that will likely cost more.

Data gathering systems must also remove content exhibiting biased or non-essential statements. Letting this information stay in the final database threatens data quality in the later stages.

Step 5 – Data Transformation

Different documentation standards, file formats, and media norms will make it challenging to consolidate the business intelligence your analysts have acquired. While big data and unstructured analytics software have evolved, transforming the data into a more analytics-friendly format helps make insight exploration fast.

The required ETL pipelines must identify recurring inconsistencies in data formats. With machine learning, modern computers can be trained to discover and solve these issues without human intervention.

Step 6 – Data Analytics

With the help of adequate technologies, data analysts must recognize patterns in the transformed datasets that can assist clients in resolving operational issues. Therefore, the scope of analytics will change according to the business queries the client organization wants to answer.

A supply chain analyst will seek new suppliers offering the materials at lower prices or faster delivery rates. Likewise, a financial analyst will find investment opportunities facilitating the correct balance between risks and rewards suitable for the clients.

Step 7 – Reporting

Report generation involves compiling the insights into a digestible format. Most data analytics platforms also offer multiple file export formats for the ease of data migration. You can use one platform to extract and document insights. Later, process it with another data visualization tool if your clients demand.

Timely reporting contributes to efficient data-driven decision-making. After all, having advanced computing equipment is useless if final report generation is time-consuming. Consider switching providers or platforms if your data analytics tools take too long to process insights and consolidate them into reports.

Step 8 – Revising Decisions and Strategies

Consult your stakeholders, brainstorm, invite feedback, and hold effective meetings. The report might be the starting point of meaningful discussions. Additionally, there will be resistance and criticism based on some insights.

Stakeholder feedback can provide ideas to make your data analytics methods more reliable. Moreover, criticism will help you estimate how much work you need to do to encourage stakeholders to embrace data-led decision-making. Once you get the necessary approvals and supportive feedback, you can begin changing the policies and strategies related to the insights.

Conclusion

Meeting deadlines, accomplishing project deliverables, maintaining healthy client relations, and finding market penetration opportunities-all require data-driven decisions to thrive in today’s intense competition. You have learned what you must prioritize throughout a data processing lifecycle to get high-quality business insights.

These considerations, like business relevance and process automation, necessitate periodic inspection and upgrades. Technologies keep changing, and you do not want to be left behind while your competitors integrate NLP, augmented analytics, or edge computing. Therefore, investigate the best practices in data analytics and business intelligence. Otherwise, collaborate with knowledgeable professionals in these domains.

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