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Less is More: How To Make Your Data Count

Less is More: How To Make Your Data Count

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In our previous blog post ‘What is Big Data’ we argued that companies must be willing and able to exploit the large volumes of data at their disposal in order to tackle today’s business challenges. Businesses must invest in the expertise to analyse and translate that data into a set of meaningful insights to drive business decisions.

One way of empowering analysts to get the most out of data is to collect less of it.

The trend in ‘Big Data’ has seen a move towards a world that attempts to measure and process everything; one that works towards ‘extreme’ data capture and information management. It is only once we have recorded every eventuality and variable that we feel reassured that we hold the key to a complete understanding of our business. All we have to do is to interrogate the data we’ve stored.

But there are a number of factors to bear in mind here;

  • Today’s overriding businesses challenges and solutions aren’t dramatically different from what they have always been.
  • Data capture is, and should always be, a by-product of a desire to use data to drive business decisions and increase business performance.
  • Data capture itself doesn’t provide an understanding of how to increase business performance.   
  • Data accumulation acts as a limiting factor for your analysts and costs money.

In simple terms,  we collect and analyse data in order to answer questions. We are most often looking to validate a possible action with the aim of either  increasing an activity that is valuable to a business or decreasing one which is not.

My argument is that we need to have a much stricter focus on these end goals when deciding what to measure. It is also important to remember that knowledge that already exists within the business will offer a pretty good idea of the factors that might be relevant. This is the same knowledge we would use were we trying to prioritise analysis from vast sets of data.

Wading through data that will never be used only hinders analysts in their quest for insight – we want to make the path towards answers as clear as possible in order to reach our end goals faster and more efficiently.

For a robust digital strategy, it’s vital then that we match our data acquisition process to our business needs. There are a range of methods that can be used to perform this task and here at Station10 we use ‘Value Mapping’.

These sessions, conducted with key digital leaders within the business, are held at the start of the journey as we move toward creating a powerful digital analytics strategy. The aim of these sessions is to ascertain the overarching goals and objectives of the business. These are then mapped out and aligned to key strategies, metrics and KPIs. From this we create a measurement strategy which is clearly  focussed on the business needs to deliver those meaningful insights that will move the business forward.

‘’You gotta be really careful what you bite off. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s a dangerous world’’ – Ozzy Osbourne

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