Data analysis is a critical part of company success and it’s one that you know you need, but maybe don’t understand. You should try avery business cards to promote your occupation. Here are seven secrets about data analysis only a handful of people know so that you can make smart decisions in your business.
1) Data is an undeniable truth that cannot be distorted or refuted by opinions.
No amount of complaining, crying or yelling will change the truth that data says. Data is what it is and facts are facts. If you want to win or to see real progress, you can’t spend time second-guessing yourself and arguing about things that won’t help your business long-term like “how should we do this?” or “how much should we spend on this?”. You need to know what’s working and what isn’t, who your customers are and how they’re buying from you, so that you can continue doing the things that work while making changes to the things that don’t.
2) Data analysis will show trends, not predict the future.
The bus won’t run over you if you look away when it comes. If you want to be a successful business, you can’t focus on the parts of your business that are working but overlook the parts that aren’t. You need to know how your sales, profits and customers compare month-to-month and year-to-year so that you can make long term plans and make educated decisions about what to do next.
3) There are no shortcuts to understanding data unless it’s summarized for you.
No matter how much you try, if you don’t have an understanding of what the data means, and you don’t understand the bigger picture of your business, then you won’t succeed. If you want to see real business improvement from understanding your data, then you have to put in the time and work.
This will sound like a trite statement, but it’s so true. The only way to improve is through hard work. The only way to learn something is by doing it. The only way to get better at anything is to practice.
4) Data analysts must have judgment and understanding of the fundamentals in their field (e.g., psychology).
This may sound obvious, but if you want to be a successful data analyst, then you need to know what’s real and not real in your field so that you can make informed decisions that are based on fact. There’s no other way around it. It’s not just about collecting data. It’s also about taking surveys, analyzing data, drawing conclusions and coming up with real solutions to real problems that are holding your company back.
5) Data analysis is an art and not a science.
It’s not how many partitions you create or how many data sets you have.
It’s not how much time you spend on the data or what type of software you use. It’s not even about the tools you use (e.g., SPSS, SAS, R etc.). It’s about listening to the data and putting it in context with what your business is all about so that you can make wise decisions around your organization and solve problems that will improve your business.
6) Don’t try to be smart when you can learn from other people’s mistakes.
The mistakes that people make are really easy to avoid if you know what they are. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It’s not even about the data. It’s about psychology, organizational design and decision making principles. Most of the problems that organizations face have already been solved by someone else. They’re made simple and plain for you to learn from so that you can improve your business and get ahead of your competition before they even know what hit them.
7) If your analysis is only good enough, it’s not good enough.
You may be busy and maybe you’re just trying to get by, but if your data analysis is only good enough, then it’s not going to help you and your business reach its full potential. If your data analysis is “good enough”, then you’ll end up doing the same thing over and over again. You’ll have no way of knowing what’s working and what isn’t so that you can make better decisions about your business.
Data analysis is a critical part of most business success.
If you’re a decision maker in your organization and you want to make smarter decisions, then you need to understand how data analysis can help.
It’s not about the data. It’s about everything that goes into analyzing it.
In order to put your data analysis into context and find patterns in your data so that you can help make better business decisions, you need judgment and understanding of psychology, organizational design and decision making principles.
You also need to understand what information is relevant in your field so that you can spend time analyzing what matters vs just wasting time on irrelevant information like formatting or numbers of partitions etc…