Data-Driven Results: Why They Matter
The world has always been full of data and data users. From plants turning to meet the sun, to animals avoiding polluted springs, to a child tentatively taking his first steps, data drives our decisions. Data collection from the information around us and making decisions with it has led us to this current day and age.
With the rise of technology, we can collect far more data than ever before–and use it in unprecedented ways. It has gone far beyond the abundance of rewards programs and incentives that companies use to get our names and email addresses. Social media, posted images, the Internet of Things, and more are all quietly collecting and distributing our data.
Beyond the personal implications, what does this mean for businesses and careers? If you aren’t in the marketing or sales sectors, you may be tempted to think ‘so what?’ That’s not the question you should be asking. Rather, what are the implications of data collection for the future of us all?
To put it in perspective, the proper data can answer almost any question today, or at least give us a much better guess than we could make on our own. From how to market and sell, to getting the work done and caring for the customers afterwards, data can answer pressing questions along every step of the way.
An example could take the form of finding out what features are generally disliked or unused in a product or service much faster. Or discovering where your customers are vs. where you think they are. Forecasting where to be or what to make, revamping business processes and more–the correct data smooths away many rough patches.
You may be thinking that your data isn’t giving you the answers you need. What’s the problem? The data that you need is there; however, the collection methods may be flawed. Or you may not be collecting what you need. Despite all the collection methods at our fingertips, the fact remains that only about 1% of data collected is actually used! Obviously, a substantial amount of data by its nature can’t be used for certain companies’ needs; however, 1% is very small.
Depending on your needs, a lot of data can be collected from your pre-existing systems. When deciding what data to pull to form a data collection, consider the three categories of data: quantitative, qualitative and mixed. Here’s what they mean in simple terms.
Quantitative data is the data that comes from situations that can be assessed using numbers and statistics. People are more likely to see this data as being objective and more reliable. The words “hard evidence” apply well to some quantitative data sets. It’s typically displayed in graphs and shows trends in the market in easy to understand ways.
Qualitative data is more concerned about the quality of a situation or experience. Customer stories, reviews and Facebook “likes” are good examples of qualitative data. Data collection from this set is more subjective and tends to reflect moments in a customer journey or business process in a richer way than quantitative data.
Mixed data is just that: mixed. This approach combines quantitative and qualitative data into a study to obtain a better overall image of your current situation. This is a highly effective way of collecting your data into a comprehensive, understandable and actionable plan.
In order to start taking advantage of your data, begin looking at all the places you are collecting it from and assess what data you are gathering. Should you be looking at another statistic? Digging more into your qualitative data? Setting up more processes to collect better data?
However you choose to go about harnessing your data for your needs, it’s well worth the time spent. Why not begin today?