Mistakes are inevitable in business; but they also impact the bottom line. The best companies use every tool available, from hardware and software to managers’ soft skills, to reduce the risk of mistakes. But for many organizations the chance to reduce the risk of costly issues lies in plain sight. The answer often stems from identifying trends – hidden in operational data – that can boost sales, or in data disparity between two systems that can hinder business efficiency.
Data analytics tools are often the only aid a business needs to dig through proprietary data, generate new insights and make smarter choices
Cast Solutions has worked with organisations all over Australia to conduct data analytics for better business decisions. Here’s what you need to know about the process, step by step.
Step one: Reorganise your data
One of the major challenges that businesses of all sizes face is how to organise and house data to get the most out of it with analytics tools and dashboards.
Too often companies use multiple different data storage systems. This leads to silos, with information that should be able to interact (through data management software) or at least be compared instead separated out. Without the full range of data to hand, how can business leaders make well-informed decisions?
Another problem is data that doesn’t flow between platforms. A data pipeline, which allows information to flow between storage systems such as data lakes and business applications, is critical to connecting different datasets for bigger picture insights and a single source of truth.
Reorganising your data is an important step to take towards more accurate data analytics. You can build a data ecosystem with relatively few tools, depending on your existing systems.
Reorganisation can start with a data lake, a pool of all of your raw data stored for undefined purposes. Using data analytics tools, you can categorise information then flow it automatically through to relevant business applications and systems using a data pipeline. This infrastructure can be scaled up to meet organisational requirements, and you can derive more complex insights from your data using business intelligence tools; but this is the basic infrastructure needed to reorganise your data for the better.
Step two: Tackle anti-data culture
Reorganising your proprietary data infrastructure is not as effective unless you also tackle anti-data culture in your company. Many decisions made in day-to-day operations, often at the board level, are made based on past precedent, industry practice, attachment to a personal idea or ‘gut feel’. Anti-data culture doesn’t have to be a conscious dislike of using proprietary data; it’s often simply about choosing emotion over fact when making key business decisions.
By switching your business mindset to one powered by information you can more easily set innovative trends in your sector, free of the constrictions of past decisions, and choose a path to growth that is supported by evidence in the present, rather than emotional impulsions.
Integrating new data analytics or machine learning and artificial intelligence systems into your day-to-day processes requires buy-in from all levels of your enterprise. Top-down rulings without context rarely work. To create a competitive advantage, instead stimulate demand for data use.
Step three: Empower wide data use
A key part of changing anti-data culture is empowering workers at all levels in your organisation, from employees to the C-Suite, to use data. This comes through a two-pronged approach.
Firstly, businesses need to ensure that all staff have suitable training and exposure to the data analytics tools being used before they are entrenched in day-to-day-processes. Giving staff the opportunity to discuss challenges and limitations they have with these platforms can help you make better business decisions about the type of infrastructure you need.
Secondly, business leaders need to ensure that the data analytics tools they choose are the best fit for their enterprise objectives. The most advanced data management software isn’t necessarily the most suitable, and you may not need to overhaul your entire data infrastructure. Making your data analytics tools simple to use and intuitive to your business objectives is key to empowering staff to use data more widely in their workflows.
Step four: Deploy the right analytics tools
The right data analytics tools will help you make better decisions in all aspects of operations. Deploying unsuitable data analytics tools will give you too much irrelevant information to work with and ultimately confuse decision making.
Picking data analytics tools, such as Qlik Sense, requires careful consideration of what you need and how this platform will be integrated with your existing data infrastructure. Data analysts can help you select the most fitting tool to help you reach your aims and draw insights from your reorganised datasets. These insights can then be visualised in data dashboards, giving employees of all levels the opportunity to take the information they need and apply it to their own decision making.
Once you are able to establish clear patterns from your proprietary data, you can even use the right tools to set up predictive analytics to forecast future trends based on current information. Predictive analytics can be extremely useful if you are planning on scaling up operations or hiring additional workers as it can give you some idea of what may happen without having to commit to the decision. This gives you peace of mind that any choice made is with a relative degree of certainty about the result.
Making better business decisions starts with what you know. If you don’t know the narrative behind your company data, how can you avoid past mistakes and implement business improvement methods that will take you to the next level?
Working with Cast Solutions
Let Cast Solutions help you to make the most of your proprietary information. Our data analysts and business experts excel at supporting clients with analytics tools that suit all operational needs. Get in touch for a chat about making better business decisions.