Data & Analytics give businesses a competitive edge by allowing them to understand their customers, be agile, move quickly to take advantage of opportunities, boost sales, improve efficiencies and, ultimately, drive profitability. But what are Data & Analytics, exactly?
A brief definition – what are Data & Analytics?
In a nutshell, Data & Analytics encompass the analysis of sets of data that can guide and inform business decisions.
Businesses have tons of data at their disposal, but often don’t know what to do with it. The analytics aspect is the process of sifting through that huge mass of data and extracting informative metrics, behavioral patterns and trends.
What can Data & Analytics do?
So, now that we’ve answered the question ‘What are Data & Analytics?’, let’s see what they can do.
In short, they can help businesses discover new things about their markets and their own place in them; shape new strategies; improve customer experiences; and create new products and services through actionable insights.
They also help a business optimise its performance. Incorporating Data & Analytics and creating a digital culture can help drive down costs by pinpointing more efficient and effective ways of doing things.
What are the processes involved in Data & Analytics?
There is an overwhelming amount of data that companies could go looking for, so it’s important to understand what kind of data you want to collect, and determine how you want to use it. For example, to build a strategy upon or to support a belief you might have about a certain customer group.
To begin with, you need to determine how the data you’re collecting should be grouped. If you are putting together an analysis on customers, for instance, you might want to start by separating them out by age, gender, demographic or income.
The next step is to actually collect your data. Data can be collected through sample surveys, internet searches, smartphone activity, focus groups, quizzes or online polls, in-depth interviews (like the 1-1 interviews we conduct as part of our eRetailer Intelligence Framework to help brand select the best retail partners), email sign-ups, white paper downloads and case studies.
Once you’ve collected the data you wanted, you need to properly organise it for analysis. You can use a spreadsheet for this, or software designed for the purpose.
You don’t want there to be any errors or duplication in your data. So, as a final step before it goes to the data analyst, the data must be thoroughly checked and cleaned up.
Massive amounts of data generated all the time
There’s a good reason ‘Big Data’ is named as such and that there’s a whole science dedicated to it – because there’s a huge amount of data out there, and dealing with it can be very complex and time-consuming.
More data has been created in the past two years than in the entire history of the human race – and yet, at the moment, only 2 per cent of that precious commodity is ever analysed and used.
Just sit back and think about it for a minute.
There are 50 billion smart connected devices in the world, all developed to collect, analyse and share data.
Facebook users (not to mention users of Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, WeChat, LinkedIn and so forth) collectively send, on average, 31.2 million messages and view 2.7 million videos every minute.
Every minute up to 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube alone. By 2020, at least a third of all data will pass through the cloud where we store out photos, files and personal information.
A question to ask yourself – does your business have a good data culture?
It’s not easy to just say “right, we’ll become a data-driven company with a great data culture as of this moment”.
There are a number of mental and organisational barriers to get through before you can create a real data culture in your business.
It may be that you and your teams just don’t quite understand the importance of data, or can’t get your head around the idea of managing so much of it? Or that you think you don’t have enough people with the right analytical skillsets to make your data work for you?
What you’ll be pleased to hear, if you’re just starting out in earnest on your data journey, is that we have Data & Analytics experts offering consultancy and training courses that will help set you on the right path. And the benefits of engaging with our services and training offering are vast.
This article was written and created by the eBusiness Institute team.
Would you like to benefit from eBusiness Institute’s Data & Analytics expert consultancy and training?
At the eBusiness Institute, we are very strong advocates of the idea that great data cultures and strategies will improve the performance, efficiency and profitability of clients that come to us for Data & Analytics training and consultancy services.
Please contact us if you would like your business to benefit from our services and to gain a real competitive advantage through our expert guidance.