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Data is one of the most valuable assets a company can have. It gives businesses insight into their clientele, operations, and competition. Moreover, it also allows you to track performance and make informed decisions about future growth. Unfortunately, many firms don’t take full advantage of the data they have.
Instead, they make decisions based on assumptions or what they think will happen. In other words, they aren’t using it to back up their strategies. As a result, they struggle to understand consumer needs. If that’s you, do not worry. Contrary to what most people think, you don’t have to be an expert in statistics or data analysis to be successful. Here are some tips for making informed decisions in your company.
Be Patient and Build a Habit
It’s okay to be eager to get started with data-informed decision-making. However, before diving head-first into this practice, you need to set up your systems for success. Start by creating a data governance policy. This will help you identify where it’s coming from and what is being collected. Next, identify your stakeholders and build a process that fits within your organization.
Be patient and realize that this is a process that will take time. You can’t expect to go from data illiteracy to a data-driven organization overnight. Building a habit will not only help make this process consistent but also easier to integrate into existing practices.
Collect the Right Information
Before you can start making decisions, you need to know what data to collect. Start by identifying the areas where it can make a difference in your firm. Once you have a list, look for data points that are relevant to those areas. For example, suppose your firm wants to improve the sales process.
In that case, metrics like the conversion rate for a particular product or the average sales price for particular segments can give you insights into how to make this process better. Of course, you’ll also want to collect information about consumer demographics, interests, etc. It’ll help your team to better meet their needs. Most importantly, you need to know the source.
Plan Before Execution
For your data strategy to work successfully, you need to plan ahead. Make sure that every decision that can be made with data is making use of it. That means you need a set process to ensure it’s being pulled and put into the right places for use in other systems. It’s also essential to make sure that it’s useful and accurate.
Find the Right Tools for The Job
This is one of the most essential tips for anyone looking to make data-informed decisions. While some information might be easy to collect and, or store, finding the right tools to collect, store, and visualize it can be challenging. You can make this process easier with the right tools, but it’s important to remember that no single tool will be perfect for every company. Look for one that meets your needs for growth, scalability, and ease of use.
You’ll also want to make sure that it integrates with the tools your company is currently using. For instance, if your company is using a CRM or marketing automation software, there’s a good chance that it can integrate with other systems. If not, you’ll need to find a tool that’s compatible with those systems or start investigating a new solution.
Be Intentional About Retention and Storage
Making informed decisions necessitates that you keep the data longer than you might initially think. You’ll want to store information long enough to get meaningful insights and enough time to make decisions. Some info might require longer storage. For example, if you’re collecting client information, you’ll want to store it for as long as your company is legally obligated to.
If you’re storing financial data, you may need to keep it even longer. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re storing it securely. This can be a challenge for small businesses. Fortunately, there are new storage solutions that are tailored to such establishments.
Make Sense of Your Data with Analytics
Now that you have your data, it’s time to make sense of it. The most basic way to interpret it is to look at averages. Unfortunately, averages don’t give you insight into how the firm is performing. Instead, look at averages, medians, and other statistics that give you a fuller picture. You’ll also want to find a way to visualize it.
Visualizing makes it easier to interpret and gives you an additional tool to use when making decisions. There are many different ways to visualize, including graphs and charts. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re including contextual information. This can include things like the name of the person whose info you’re visualizing or basic statistics about the data you’re sharing.
Ask the Right Questions
Before you start collecting information, you might want to consider what questions you want answers to. This will help you decide what info is important and relevant. It may also help you decide on the tools for collection.
For example, if you’re interested in finding out more about your clientele, you may want to use survey tools to collect demographic and interest data. Once you have it, you’ll want to review it regularly, especially if you’re sharing it with other departments or team members. This ensures that it’s consistent and that everyone understands what they’re looking at. You may also want to create a dictionary that defines all of the terms you’re using.
No matter how much of it you collect, data can never replace human insights and intuition. While it is great for telling you what has happened, it does not necessarily help you predict what will happen. That’s why it’s important to use it in conjunction with human insights and intuition when making decisions. Although it can provide insights into your company’s current performance and help you create better processes, it can’t tell you why those processes aren’t effective or what can be done to improve them. That’s where human understanding comes in.