If you don’t consider yourself data-literate, you’re not alone. Despite the fact that we are in the era of big data, many professionals today shy away from the use of data in their everyday work. In fact, this big data skills gap was recently illustrated in wikibon which warns that the US is likely to “face a shortage of 140,000-190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the big data analysis to make effective decisions by 2018.'
Regardless of your occupation, you can start to bridge the gap. Taking even the smallest steps toward learning how to use data will make you more insightful, productive and earn you the reputation of someone who is impacting the business and can drive performance.
Here are our top 5 Datumize Tips
1. Don’t let the Data scare you
Its easy to push data away if your not proficient in Excel or don’t like working with numbers. However, there is a certain basic level of comfort with numbers and data that every professional needs to achieve. Start by looking at the most basic business numbers you can get your hands on – maybe it’s the company revenue or website traffic. Then look at the current data you have access to and ask yourself: what more data could I benefit from here?
2. Find the 80/20’s in your business
Data is your ally when it comes to learning how to work smarter, not harder. The 80/20 rule indicates that 20% of your activities you do account for 80% of your results. If you can use data to identify the few actions that drive the bulk of your results, you can focus your efforts on making a much bigger impact
3. Keep It Simple
Trying to get your head around the lion’s share of your company’s data is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. All too often, people agonize over analysing hundreds of products or customers or regions. It’s almost impossible to identify patterns in data beyond five to seven sets. Look for ways to make groups, i.e by product, colour, price point or type of products line. Ask yourself: How can categorizing simplify my business? And how can I streamline the data I capture?
4. Track Trends over Time
You can stay in tune with your business by identifying a handful of key statistics, such as average sales price or revenue per customer, and forcing yourself to track them over time. Soon you will see patterns in the data and identify trends much earlier. Trends that don’t seem to change much weeks by week may change significantly in the course of three to six months.
5. Ask yourself the tough questions.
Even if your boss isn’t asking for it, ask yourself: Whats the return on investment I should expect from unlocking extra data, and how can I measure the return I’m actually getting? As you become comfortable using data, experiment with intermediate to advanced tools that will help you dive deeper into various pools of information. Once you see data deliver meaningful insights and the results it brings to your operation, you will find your self-diving deeper into more data, unlocking various ports of information that has always been there, creating huge success along the way!
Data does not need to be scary, nor does it need to be complicated, it simply needs to be easy to understand.
written by Adrian Hinrichsen