Tired of hearing about data and how it’s so important yet?
I think we all get the point by now: data is important. Yet so many companies are still missing a huge opportunity by not using their data to answer important questions about their business. If this is you, don’t worry, you’re in a safe place. We’re going to help you figure out how to get started in one blog post (how’s that for a big promise?). Before we do that, some quick background. For starters, there are three levels of data analytics: descriptive, predictive and prescriptive.
- Descriptive: This is the simplest way to summarize what’s happening. It makes your data fit for human consumption.
- Predictive: In the most basic terms, predictive analytics looks at the data you have and predicts the data you don’t have. You’ll use a variety of statistical modeling, data mining and machine learning techniques.
- Prescriptive: This is actually a more advanced version of predictive and essentially takes the data you have and prescribes a course of action.
We’re going to focus on the first level, descriptive, in this post, as the others are quite a bit more advanced and will likely need more than a thousand words to describe. We’ll also show you how Curiosity can help you get started with descriptive analysis using our newly introduced Client Knowledge Platform.
[Skip this step if you have a good sense of what your data sources are and where to find them.]
If you work at a company, you have data. You may not have a lot or anything that’s really valuable. It may be in an unusable format, or you may not know where to find it. But you have it. Somewhere. Step number one is figuring out what you have. If you make this jump, you’re already doing better than some companies out there. So, it’s time to turn over all the digital couch cushions you have to see what data is available. Here are some places to look:
- Email: Dig through your emails and folders looking for spreadsheets. Chances are some of these are going to be useful, or at least point to some sources of data.
- Google Analytics (or similar): If you have a website, you likely have something tracking its basic performance. This data can be really useful.
- Customer database (or CRM system): This will be loaded with valuable information.
- Social media accounts: Believe it or not, these platforms have a lot that can be helpful.
- Your sales team: They have all sorts of useful data, which you might be able to use.
Those are just a few places to look to help you get started.
Congratulations…you’re now in the data business.
Chances are that you have already completed Step 1 in some form, so welcome to Step 2.
Most companies know that they have a lot of data, but don’t know what to do with it. The place to start is organizing this data to simply get a few insights into what’s happening. As I said earlier, you’re trying to make your data fit for human consumption. You can’t expect a person to comb through thousands (or millions) of lines of a spreadsheet and tell you what’s happening. That’s what descriptive statistics is all about.
Before we start creating some great visuals, let’s figure out what questions you want your data to answer. If your data isn’t helping you answer questions, then it’s pretty useless. Some basic questions you might want to answer:
- Are my sales going up or down?
- Which areas/products are performing the best?
- How are my efforts in social media paying off?
- Am I showing up in searches?
- Am I spending more or less in paid media?
- What are the results of my marketing efforts and which are working best?
There are thousands of other questions you might want to know, and a few quality data sources may have all the information you need to answer them. But first, take the time to figure out what questions you want answers for now and on an ongoing basis. This will save a lot of effort later and head off wasted time by focusing in the right places.
Once you have your questions, take a high-level look at your data to figure out if it’s capable of answering your questions. For example, if you want to know which paid media is performing best, but you don’t have daily media spending, that’s going to be a hard question to answer. From here, try to fill in gaps in your data with new sources.
This can get complicated pretty quickly, so feel free to contact us, and we’ll give you a hand sorting it out.
It’s time for the pretty pictures. That is, it’s time to take your data and put it in an easy-to-read format that answers the business questions you selected. A critical part in this is getting all of your data and visualization in one place. What we don’t want to create is ten different places that you need to look at each day to figure out what’s going on. I can guarantee that you’ll use that system for a week and then never look at the data again. This means that any system that we set up should consolidate your visuals into one place, so you can get all your answers in one place.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a perfect formula for what you need to do in this step, as it is highly variable depending on your type of business, the questions you need answered and the data you have available. And there are many tools on the market to help create these visuals for you (such as Tableau or Domo). These platforms do make the visualization simpler, but still require a great deal of specific knowledge (with a steep learning curve).
Curiosity’s Client Knowledge Portal
If “self-service” isn’t a fit for you, then we’d love to help. We found that many of our clients are at Step 3, and that’s where they get stuck. This is why we created our Client Knowledge Portal. We combine our strategic services (to help you figure out your business questions and sort through your data) and this platform (to help you see the answers to your questions) to deliver what we believe is a unique offering.
Here’s what you’ll love about the platform:
- It’s Fast: Start using our Portal with your data sources in days, not months. Real-time data appears in seconds.
- It’s Simple: We manage all the set up and ongoing management, letting you and your team spend your time elsewhere.
- It’s Clear: No more poring through Excel looking for an answer. Quickly find what you need and understand what it means.
- It’s Complete: Integrate data from hundreds of different sources across all of your programs and divisions.
You can integrate data from many data sources that you probably use already:
We’re just debuting this product and we’re looking for some additional clients to come on as beta users. As part of this offer, we’ll give you 20% off the normal cost of the service for the first year. If you’re interested in being a beta user and collecting this substantial discount, we’d love to set up a demo and share more details. You can sign up here.
Download a detailed datasheet about the Client Knowledge Portal here.