From Data to Decisions or Decisions to Data?

Analytics helps in transforming your data into information and derive insights to make decisions

Data -> Information -> Decisions

We have heard this over and over again. However where should one start? One of the key issues I am seeing, with this hype of Data Analytics, is people are starting with the Data and saying “do something with all the data that I collect and tap into all sources of information available and give me some insights. I will then use the insights to make decisions”. This is the wrong approach and can get you into lengthy and messy engagements.

Start with the decisions you need to make. Prioritize them. Then break each decision down into questions you need to answer to make that decision. Sort the questions by importance. Once you have the most important questions, ask your Data Scientists/Analysts to provide answers to these questions. Specify the format in which you want to see the answers. When you have narrowed this down you will realize you need to tap only certain specific data sources and you may need to use limited tools/technology to answer it.  Some questions can be answered by basic business intelligence reports, some questions may need deeper data mining of unstructured data.

Get wise about your Analytics strategy ..  just because the world’s data is available at your fingertips, doesn’t mean you need all of it. You will save cost in the long run.