Every business is an analytics business. Likewise, every individual is an analyst, to some extent. Every process in business or in every-day-life is an analytical process ripe for improvement. And no matter what you plan to accomplish, the very first step, more often than not is gathering the facts and information —data. Once you retain that, you can analyze the data and move towards your end goal. Thus, I would say “data” is a basic building block, an imperative that acts as a facilitator between us and our end goal.
How is data used in everyday life, though? How and when does an individual act as an analyst?
How is that possible? Isn’t analyzing data about number crunching?
Let’s explain analytics implementing fashion as an analogy (two of my most favorite topics)imagine a simple situation — you need to purchase a bag.
Sounds like a trivial task, right? How would you approach it? Regardless of your budget, the possibility is you will find more than one option available, moreover, chances are you will find yourself torn between those options. You’ll find yourself analyzing your wants and preferences:
— What brand?
— Style of the bag? Sling or tote or a shoulder bag?
— Color, shape, size, and so on.
The first step towards arriving at a decision would be to simplify this clutter of information. Narrow down this list — evaluate why you are purchasing a bag in the first place. Once you contemplate the reason and know the usability of the bag, next would be to maneuver through selecting a brand, design/style, color, the size of the bag, etc. It’s a process of pivoting the attributes that are of relative importance to you.
Conceivably the functionality of the bag is the most crucial to you; size and design are of medium importance whereas the brand and color are of low significance barely contributing towards the process of drilling down. Here, to arrive at the decision of which bag you should buy, you are essentially going through an “analysis process” by contemplating what you require, drilling down to arrive at a decision based on your preferences.
The above scenario is an example of using analytics to combat a real-life problem. Here, we essentially broke down a complex problem into a series of minor problems that we solved using the available data/information. This is relatively a simple problem where the analytical process is happening implicitly in our minds. Knowingly or unknowingly we, in most situations take steps and act to arrive at a decision through an ‘analytical’ process.
Analytics has come a long way in a relatively brief period of time. It has proven and continues to prove to be a game-changer in this data-driven world. Having suitable tools and people who can manipulate the collected data in a meaningful way is one the most valuable assets one can have. This potentially will have immense impact on an enterprise’s or an individual’s short and long-term success. Having data and using it efficiently will lead to more informed decisions.
Final … final Thoughts
Even though the world is moving in the direction of producing more data-driven and informed decisions, paradoxically even after tremendous technological advancement, only 3% of the collected data is used. “Data smog” or “information overload” seem to contribute towards this issue, where there is an extensive amount of data but not enough tools and people to manipulate it and analyze it.