Data is Only as Valuable as the Insights it Informs
No doubt we can all agree that data is a critical component of decision-making in today’s business environment. For the last decade, being “data-driven” was the goal for enterprises eager to jump on board the business intelligence train. But data, though absolutely necessary, is only one piece of the pie.
It’s something we see all the time: Companies can easily get hung up on wanting “all the data,” and then they’re left with a clear picture of past performance but no real understanding of what the future might hold and how to proactively shape it. Think of it like this: Data by itself is akin to driving somewhere new with a rearview mirror and no map. You can see where you’ve been, but you need something more to help you understand where you’re headed and the best way to get there.
Data is only as good as our understanding of it and its usefulness in illuminating the best path forward. What companies really needare insights. One article in the Harvard Business Reviewdefines insights as “data-driven findings that create business value…. entirely different beasts from raw data.” It’s true that raw data forms the foundation of business intelligence, but it takes analysis to turn data into insights that create real value.
As we discussed in an earlier post, the effective use of data can create insights that change the way your organization understands itself and relates to its environment. And even beyond insights, at what Forbes calls the “apex of your data pyramid,” are actionable insights: insights that drive action, rather than those that simply answer a question.
For example, datashows you raw sales results for the past three months. Insightdraws on that data to identify patterns and trends. An actionable insight builds on that information and might offer three things you could consider implementing to improve your close ratio.
Data is important. Insights are valuable. Actionable insights can be a game-changer. We can help you bridge the gap and stop relying only on the rear-view mirror. Get in touch if you’re ready to get started.
Irfan Kamal, “Metrics Are Easy; Insight Is Hard,” Harvard Business Review, September 24, 2012. https://hbr.org/2012/09/metrics-are-easy-insights-are-hard
Brent Dykes, “Actionable Insights: The Missing Link Between Data and Business Value,” Forbes.com, April 26, 2016. https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentdykes/2016/04/26/actionable-insights-the-missing-link-between-data-and-business-value/#5104d16351e5