Making decisions based on ‘the data’ is now a mainstream idea. Even if most businesses don’t have the resources to conduct research and analyze big data, they know that the information is out there and it may well be invaluable. As a result of the popularity and increasing accuracy of big data, more and more companies are turning to analytics, or the tools which have been created to make data analysis more accessible to more people. Analytics tools tend to be a blessing and a curse, because they do offer answers, but only to the questions that you pose and with a lot of work to get the data you need.
Creating the Data
The bigger picture data, or the big data, is collected constantly. If you wanted to compare your business’ success in certain markets to your competitors, you’d be able to find measures which demonstrate various milestones and the difference between your company and another company. When it comes to data about customers or consumer trends, things get a bit more tricky. If you want to compare your customers to a broader group, you’ve got a lot of analysis to manage.
The option that most businesses go with is somewhere between hiring analysts and improving the data collection tools used within analytics programs. For example, if you’re collecting data on how much time your customers spend on your website, there are tools for tracking time and clicks. Purchases are also relatively easy to track these days, especially with loyalty programs and the like. But the system for tracking must be put into place if the data being collected has any value from an analytics perspective.
Working with Analysts
Ideally, your company is doing more than tracking customer patterns with Google Analytics. Analytics is a relatively new profession, but analysts who have embraced both the benefits and challenges of working with big data are highly valuable. Pushing towards analysis of bigger and bigger data will ensure that your business decisions aren’t the guesswork of the past.
In fact, the great analysts of the future are more like fortune tellers than anything else. Yes, they may get bogged down in models and statistical probabilities at times. But the data driven decision making that the biggest companies are making are already paying off. It’ll be well worth the investment to understand the role of big data and analytics in the future of your business before your competitors.