7 Ways to Turn Data Into Actionable Insights

how to generate and extract data-driven insights with examples

Data is only as useful as the insights it provides. 

Big Data without insight is like a car without gas — it may be technically moving and even getting from point A to point B. But there’s not really much use in that.

That’s why, if you want to enhance your business performance — you need to know how to turn your data into actionable insights. 

Knowing how to analyze your data properly will help you make better decisions and move your business forward. 

To solve your problem, here are 7 ways to turn data into actionable insights. 

1. Understand What You Want to Measure

If you don’t know how to measure your data, then you won’t know what insights to take action on. 

Most people start by measuring volume or volume and velocity, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

You also need to think about what questions you want to be answered from that data and how you’re going to turn those answers into actionable insights.

Because actionable insights are fully dependent on accurate data.

Also, avoid tracking data that isn’t relevant to your overall business objectives. There are numerous vanity metrics that appear spectacular and look nice on paper but bring no value to your organization.

2. Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Every company has KPIs that are important for them to measure and improve upon. 

Whether it’s customer satisfaction, revenue growth, engagement, or something else entirely. 

Your first step is identifying those KPIs and then finding ways to measure them in your application environment. 

Some of these KPIs may already be built into your application. But others may require some custom work on your part. 

3. Develop a Data-Driven Culture

A business intelligence (BI) platform doesn’t magically transform your company into a data-driven organization. 

It takes time and effort to build the right culture of analytics literacy across the entire business. 

Make sure there are clear expectations about how people should use the data they’re given, as well as who owns which sets of information. 

Then make sure each person understands what they should be doing with their data and why it’s important for them to do so.

4. Get Your Team on Board With Data-driven Decision Making

Data is only useful if you know how to use it, and the best way to make sure everyone in the company is on the same page is by bringing them together. 

Because everyone must be taught how to use data in your organization. It’s also about training people how to interpret data, not just giving them access to it.

This means that everyone from executives to frontline employees should understand what insights they can glean from this information. And what strategies they can follow based on those insights.

Recommended: Guide: How to Use Big Data to Improve Employee Engagement

5. Keep Track of All of Your Data Sources in One Place

Data is scattered across multiple sources — email inboxes, Google Analytics reports, Salesforce reports, etc. 

And unless you keep track of all of those sources in one place (like a dashboard), then it becomes difficult for employees to see how everything fits together as a whole picture. 

That makes it impossible for anyone on your team to make sense of what they’re seeing or doing with their day-to-day tasks at work. 

6. Hire for Analytical Talent and Cultural Fit

Data scientists are a rare breed of people who can both understand the math behind algorithms and build them from scratch. 

That makes them extremely valuable members of your organization. 

They’re also hard to find because of the kind of academics they carry — not a lot of people can achieve it. 

To find these folks, look for people with degrees in computer science or math as well as experience working with large datasets (for example, someone who worked at Google running experiments). 

You should also look for people who are good communicators. These days, data scientists will often work in teams with other departments (like marketing or sales) to figure out how best to use their findings.

7. Leverage Technology to Help You Find Insights

If you have an idea for a new product or service but aren’t sure if it will work, you can use tools like SurveyMonkey Audience or SurveyGizmo to help you uncover insights about what people want. 

For example, if you’re thinking about launching a new product or service in the healthcare industry, then it would be helpful to know what types of physicians would be most interested in your product or service before spending any time or money developing it further.

Also — use automation to keep your data fresh

For example, if you want real-time updates from social media channels like Facebook or Twitter, set up an automated feed so that new content gets pulled into the system automatically — no manual work required. 

Another example: If customers are tweeting about an issue with your product or service on Twitter, use an automation tool like SocialMention or HootSuite so that their tweets are automatically captured. And sent directly into a queue for review by someone on your team who handles customer service issues at scale.

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