4 secrets to turning data into actionable insights (2023)

When thinking about how to extract valuable insights from your data, always keep the end in mind. A clear understanding of the importance of the project guides decision-making, alignment between all teams involved and security when problems arise that are worth solving. To that end, here are four keys to visualizing your organization's data and generating actionable insights.

1. Remember the price: Identify measurable business results

Start with this question: What are the top drivers of revenue, expense, and risk in the business you're interested in? These are the areas where you can leverage analytics to make the biggest impact and get the best ROI on your data investment. Estimate the operational impact you expect from using your data more efficiently and how the insights gained will affect your bottom line.

The end goal varies by business and area of ​​responsibility, and thinking carefully about how this applies to your situation is an important first step. Here are examples of goals for different departments within an organization:

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  • For a sales team: Increase sales by encouraging competition.
  • For a marketing team: Improve campaign ROI by identifying top performing channels and messages.
  • For a social media manager: analyzing post engagement to improve content creation.

2. Know your source - start with the data you have.

Quality input is necessary - but not sufficient - to create effective business intelligence (BI) outputs. Consider the difficulty of getting this data consistently and automatically. If manual intervention is required, try to understand how this affects the initiative and the value it will deliver. For example, if your data is scattered across multiple CSV or Excel files, consider how much it would cost to go to the source or schedule a time to maintain these files.

Also consider the cleanliness and accuracy of the available data. This will hinder your ability to gain insights from your data when your inventory system typically doesn't reflect reality due to manual workarounds.

Finally, don't limit yourself to just what's available to you right now, today. Consider the key areas where you are not generating data today, but could be with new processes. By leveraging actionable, data-driven insights, you can gain more control over areas where money may be draining your business and where the number of new opportunities is proliferating.

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3. Measure Your Users - Find out who will be using the platform.

Which users in your organization will use these insights, and what actions do you expect them to take as a result? This is a key issue to consider to ensure that the projected business impact is realistically achievable.

C-level executives may only be interested in the big picture, while managers are more interested in specific business drivers in their field. Likewise, analysts often prefer ad hoc data exploration, while business users want to leverage only the insights they need.

Be sure to communicate with future users of your BI system and validate their assumptions. If they don't agree that the new insights allow them to make better decisions and achieve better results in their roles, you should use that feedback to reiterate your planned approach. Big changes to your plan become much more expensive and difficult once the project is underway.

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4. Keep existing workflows: don't do more work for yourself

How will your users integrate your analytics system into their daily workflow? Widespread adoption allows your business intelligence or analytics program to have the greatest impact. So think about how you can make customization easier for future users to integrate into their standard daily tasks. For example,embed analyticsinto an existing system, eliminating the need for additional enrollment can help reduce complications between insights and actions.

Also, be aware of the boundaries between your operating and BI systems and focus on the strengths of each. YourAnalytics-Plattformit should provide insights to help your users make better decisions, but it's probably not the place for them to review and edit individual records or act on those insights. Work smarter, not harder - try to exploit each system's strengths.

Dive deeper and learn more aboutHow embedded analytics help companies drive adoption and growthin our ebook.

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Written by GoodData, Cassie Lee|

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