Make sure you Unlock
Profit from your Data

Gold mining is very “hit and miss” – don’t let your Data Mining be the same!


Data management can be a nightmare for Small Business

The interrelation between the humans and the numbers is where it all starts falling to pieces. “Data” is records of events & descriptions all tucked away in neat little piles usually within a computer, big data is a really big pile of information usually on a server, and these data piles are only good when these Four key steps are applied to using them.

– Without human vision and intuition, how can we work out what to look for and where to start?
– Without a skilled data warehouse manager how can we hold the data accurately and query it correctly?
– Without good analysts how can we be confident in the stories the data is telling?

The process of using Data, as well as the skill of the analyst, combined with the expectations of the audience, all combine to how useful it is; whether it provides just more data or whether it enables decisions.

Unlocking Profit from your Data requires 4 steps

SMEs often don’t have the data managers, analysts and spin-doctors needed to do data drilling. But if you use these steps, start small, and practice over time, you will easily be able to unlock the profit from your data.

  • Defining – clarifying the following:

    * What issue is pressing to this business right now?
    * What decisions need to be made to address this issue?
    * What is to be investigated to ensure my decisions are good ones?

  • Querying – isolate a sub-set of data to be investigated
  • Reporting – creating and providing the findings (your newly isolated sub-set) in a way that is understandable (ie don’t end up with a data set that looks like 001100110011110001001010000, or a table that has no headings)
  • Analysis – review and extrapolation as to causes of the findings and future impacts or changes that may occur etc. etc.

For example, you could query a database as to the number of beans available, and the colour of those beans at several points in time, the Data will happily be able to reveal: ”This month I have 8 beans, half of them red the rest blue. Last months there were 9 beans all of them red.”
This is simply more data, it doesn’t address any real questions:

* are red better than blue?
* is that change good or bad?
* what should I be aiming for?

REMEMBER: a bunch of numbers in a table is, in my opinion, unlikely to be able to help you achieve your goals. Therefore keep questioning and questioning and questioning – why, how, wh… (sorry got carried away with how to suck eggs; but you get the idea!)

Data alone can not deliver what is expected without a shift to demanding knowledge, instead of information.

Data can’t deliver vision.
Data doesn’t determine, or necessarily highlight, ambiguity.
Data can’t report values not yet collected.

Human judgment can be more than simply a binary “yes/no”; sometimes we need “maybe!” … or even “maybe?”
As Tim Leberecht so eloquently puts it in his blog:

Data can give us the illusion of objective truth, yes, but at the end of the day, our employees and customers are not interested in the truth, they seek experiences that feel true.

Now you know how to start don’t be afraid of your data – use it well to inform your decision-making, bearing in mind all four key steps.

What is one question you will put to your data this week?