Seeing the wood for the trees: creating insight from your data

09 March 2015

by Matthew Linehan Manager

Data is ubiquitous in modern business and frequently plays an important role in decision making. So how do we ensure we get the most from it?

The growth of agile analytical technologies is disrupting the traditional IT-driven model of business intelligence. These technologies, marketed at the end user, streamline and simplify the process of preparing and presenting insightful analysis. Business users are empowered to quickly find answers in their data without the need for deep technical knowledge or experience. Business intelligence can become a rapid process.

Using modern analytical technology can expedite the process from receiving a large series of values to producing a set of key metrics. Getting hands on with your data is a quick way to understand its scope and limitations. Exploring different means of presenting information can highlight new patterns and trends.

But this isn’t without risk. Naturally the ability to manipulate large amounts of data on the fly can bring challenges of its own. With the power to rapidly generate analysis comes the temptation to cut to the chase and dive in head first. It can be all too easy to jump the gun and lose focus. As a result your analysis is defined by the art of the possible, rather than the questions you need to answer.

Creating insight is an individual process, unique to each business in a given situation. To get the right answers you need to ask the right questions. To derive valuable insight, you need to understand what drives the business. These drivers vary from one business to another and are shaped by a variety of factors, both internal and external: industry, size of organisation and seasonality, to name a few.

Bringing focus to your analysis is at the heart of getting value from your data. A purely exploratory approach rarely offers the best answers. A rich dataset can tell a number of stories and the key to making the most of your data is to understand the story that you want to tell. Exploring your data through the lens of your business drivers will help you to see the wood for the trees, define your approach to business intelligence and realise the value in your data.

If you would like to discuss these issues, or the impact of emerging technology or data and analytics on your industry, then contact our Data & Analytics team.

by Matthew Linehan Manager