Information is starting to hold more power than ever before, which makes it important to use analytics and reporting tools effectively. Employees are collecting mass amounts of big data on a daily basis and are being asked to identify trends that will influence business growth. Through this process, decision makers can drive positive changes and foster the path for profitability. First, however, users must understand how to leverage big data and visualizations that will contribute to overarching goals.
Businesses are increasingly using friendlier analytics tools to enable more staff members to contribute their metrics for overall improvements. While these solutions are more viable for people with varying skill levels, employees will still need to be trained on how to effectively utilize them. Forbes contributor Gary Drenik pointed out that users must first validate the accuracy of their data in order to ensure that the model will not be influenced by inaccurate information. If bad data enters the equation, it can affect the model and hinder organizations from exploiting the metrics for essential competitive advantages. To prevent this issue, IT staff must create a strategy that accounts for a broader view of operations while also factoring in logic of the current business environment. Doing this, the analytics will reveal precise actionable insights and help drive changes.
"Strategy requires data that serves as fuel, but logic and experience still need to be applied to generate knowledge-based systems," Drenik wrote. "Knowing not only what happened, but why it happened (diagnostic), what will happen (predictive) and how we can make it happen (prescriptive) is important for moving beyond big data to knowledge."
The value of data visualization
While having raw information on hand can be useful, it will make a stronger impact when put into a report designer. Through this, organizations can make effective images that clearly indicate what areas are being affected and what improvements can be made. According to Business 2 Community contributor Terry Winters, government has especially been taking up visualization tools to push reforms in their jurisdiction and ensure that stakeholders understand the implications of any potential actions. The information can also play a large role in a strategy for organization innovation and will help presenters connect with viewers. While some individuals may not grasp the impact of actions based on a paper of numbers, situating this information in a chart or other image will help tell a story and make sure that it's easy to interactively explore by all viewers.
"With the data at hand, communicating with elected officials is simpler and effective," Winters pointed out. "It is also important to appreciate the fact that it enables proper communication with transport advocacy groups and even road users. This then ensures effective operations every other day."
Working with data has traditionally be a challenging task, but it is quickly becoming more of an asset to businesses. In order to remain relevant, organizations will need to incorporate analytics and visualizations into their strategies to make informed decisions and drive growth.