Is your business living up to its full potential? Detailed data analysis can take your business strategy to the next level, help you make more accurate predictions, and maximize every resource at your disposal. But to gain all of these benefits, you’ll need to have the right exploratory data analysis techniques in place.
In my experience as a financial reporter, I’ve worked very closely with complex data systems and have identified three essential techniques that have the greatest impact on a business’ success. These techniques are:
- Maximize outside resources
- Focus on actionable data
- Govern your data
By focusing on these three techniques specifically, you’ll dramatically improve the way you approach exploratory data analysis and, as a result, will be able to use this data to your advantage.
Exploratory Data Analysis Techniques
Maximize Outside Resources
As a data analytics consultant, the main challenge I see small businesses face is that they don’t have the infrastructure or resources required to perform an accurate data analysis—through no fault of their own. Often, budget limitations or lack of knowledge and training make it difficult to accurately analyze and visualize complex sets of data.
This is why you should outsource this task to experienced IT firms. Not only will the IT firm design accurate exploratory data collection systems, but they’ll also review the data and format it in a way that makes sense. After all, having a spreadsheet filled with thousands of numbers is only useful if you understand what those numbers mean and how they relate to your business strategy.
IT firms know how to compile data into graphs and other visual aids that will help you identify important patterns. Moreover, this can be done quickly and efficiently—often in as little as one week. If you were to perform this analysis yourself, it might take your team months to dig through the same information and identify what matters. By hiring outside resources to create customized reports tailored specifically for your business, you’ll make the most of the exploratory data analysis process.
Focus On Actionable Data
Another common mistake that business owners and reporters make when they perform an exploratory data analysis is that they don’t collect the right type of data from the beginning. While exploratory data analysis [LINK TO exploratory data analysis post WHEN LIVE] is supposed to be objective and broad in scope in order to accurately capture what’s really happening, that doesn’t mean you should gather data randomly.
The exploratory data analysis technique that I use most often is focusing on actionable data. I keep this goal in mind as I create my data gathering systems. This is a careful balancing act; if the data you gather is too narrow in scope, you might fail to see other important patterns; likewise, if the data you gather is too broad, it will take longer to compile it and only a small portion of it will actually be useful. Too much data can cloud your judgment and make your business strategy more convoluted.
By hiring an outside IT firm that already has experience gathering the right type of exploratory data for analysis, you’ll avoid some of these potential pitfalls. Because these IT firms already have data collection and analytics systems in place, it takes them very little time to generate insights. The right IT firm can help you cut through the noise and see which data points actually matter. This also allows you to focus more on making the right decisions. You won’t have to consider details like which data-gathering method to use, or whether a scatter plot is the best way to show how two variables relate to one another.
Govern Your Data
One final way to improve your exploratory data analysis techniques is to make sure that you have a reliable data governance method in place. This means ensuring that you’re collecting high-quality data and that the basic techniques you use today are the same ones you’ll use in the future.
Improving data governance has two benefits for your company. First, it makes it easier to compare data sets over time. If you gather data today, you can compare it to data that you gather three months from now, one year from now, and even five years from now. Because you used the same reliable methods to collect this data, you can eliminate the risk of researcher bias and other potential inaccuracies. The second benefit of data governance is that it makes the data gathering process more streamlined. That makes it easier to train employees on how to follow best data-gathering practices.
However, the problem with data governance is that it can be difficult to find a method that works for your company. There’s also still room for error. For example, if you have a clear system in place but one of your employees fails to follow protocol, it could affect the quality of the data.
This is where an IT firm can help. The best IT firms have long-standing data governance regimes and systems that are thoroughly regulated and enforced. You can rest easy knowing that the data these firms provide you is as accurate as possible.
How to Implement These Techniques
Hiring the services of an experienced, knowledgeable IT firm like Tek Leaders is the best way to incorporate all of these exploratory data analysis techniques into your business strategy. Our teams of IT experts use all three of these techniques daily, and are well-versed in the nuances of detailed data analysis. With our help, you can improve the quality and speed of your exploratory data analysis process, allowing you to leverage your insights to make the best decisions for your organization.
If you’re ready to take your exploratory data analysis techniques to the next level, contact Tek Leaders today. Our firm specializes in data visualization and reporting capabilities, helping you make your data more actionable. Or, if you have more questions about the exploratory data analysis techniques we use, you can reach us by email or call us at (214) 504-1600 directly.