Drowning in Data, Starving for Information

Hand of drowning manData. Big data. Analytics.
Your new favorite buzz words.

Hopefully by now you have begun collecting data inside your organization (and if you haven’t…please start now). But since starting to collect it, what have you actually done with it? Is it sitting on a hard drive because you are not sure what to do next?

Are you still making all your decisions based on your gut feeling, “experience”, and business politics?

Let’s take your data and make magic.
Here are four easy ways to make use of your data and look like a data rock star.

Track data that will lead to actionable insights. You can’t track everything, especially if you are just starting out. Begin by measuring things that matter. What is it you are trying to accomplish? Increase lead generation? Increase conversion rate? Reduce wait time for your support line? Choosing the right things to measure can also uncover hidden bottlenecks: bonus!

Create a one-page dashboard of the most important metrics. Once you start collecting data, you can easily fall into the trap of trying to report on all of it. Yikes! Management wants to see the highlights…the important things. But each level of management might need different amounts of detail. Be open to making multiple versions of your dashboard. Remember, creating dashboards is an iterative process. Make one, show it, get feedback, revise.

Prepare yourself to make data driven decisions. Once you have the insights, make some decisions! Having historical data will give you the ability to see if the decisions and changes you make positively or negatively affect your business. Don’t you want to show how you grew engagement, increased sales conversions, and reduced customer wait time? I do.

Scorecards are awesome. If you lots of departments and lots of KPIs [key performance indicators] (or even if you don’t), creating a template scorecard is a great way to have consistency in displaying your information and quickly sorting through the metrics that need your attention. Use some of your Excel skills to combine pivot tables, dropdowns, validation cells, and filters to create a dynamic work of “data-displaying” art.

It’s great that you are collecting terabytes of data…now what are you going to do with it?