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5 Ways to Turn Your Data Into Actionable Insights

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  • Pragmatic Institute is the transformational partner for today’s businesses, providing immediate impact through actionable and practical training for product, design and data teams. Our courses are taught by industry experts with decades of hands-on experience, and include a complete ecosystem of training, resources and community. This focus on dynamic instruction and continued learning has delivered impactful education to over 200,000 alumni worldwide over the last 30 years.

man looking at screen with data

We hear a lot about data these days. Data consists of the facts and statistics collected about people, places, things, business rules and other factors of the business operations. It is also one of an organization’s most valuable assets. To measure data quality and be able to turn it into actionable insights, it’s important to have processes in place. It’s also important to perform regular data quality audits to ensure the data sets being worked are accurate and up-to-date.

It all starts with data, and the first step is to assess the data at hand to ensure the dataset you are working with is clean, accurate and reliable. According to Forrester, on average, between 60% and 73% of all data within an enterprise goes unused for analytics. 

Henceforth, actionable insights are meaningful findings that are drawn from analyzing the data at hand. As data is reshaping business operations and enabling new revenue streams, this article will cover the five major ways you can turn data into actionable insights. 

 

1. Verbalize Your Findings

To ensure your company is moving in the right direction, it’s important to communicate the insights effectively to stakeholders and business leaders. Especially since there is access to so much data, and not all the data you come across is helpful for the business, being able to identify critical data sets allows your findings to be more targeted and focused. 

Furthermore, accurately communicating what you have uncovered with data ensures everyone on the team is on the same page and allows stakeholders to make data-driven decisions. Therefore, when the appropriate parties are provided with accurate data, it facilitates them to take action that power business strategy.  

Here are some key factors to ensure your insights are communicated effectively: 

  • Know your audience 
  • Start with what’s most important
  • Make it easy to understand 
  • Be able to answer ‘how’ and ‘why’

 

2. Understand What You Want to Measure 

Moreover, knowing what you need to measure is key to turning data into actionable insights. Otherwise, you may spend hours analyzing data that won’t be utilized or doesn’t align with the business goals. Overall, data mature organizations have processes in place and spend time reviewing results to drive business strategy.

Organizations that have a measurement plan in place are able to easily track business goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure business goals are being met. This helps monitor the business performance and ability to track progress to ensure success against business objectives – playing a key role in actionable insights. 

Every business is different and may have different metrics to measure, here a few key metrics organizations often measure: 

  • Return on investment (ROI)
  • Growth and churn rate 
  • Customer retention
  • Cost per lead
  • Customer lifetime value 

 

3. Recognize Patterns

Analyzing your data will allow you to turn it into actionable insights as you begin to recognize and create patterns. Patterns are beneficial as they can create opportunities that might not have been there otherwise. Recognizing patterns helps you turn information into valuable knowledge and get a better understanding of customer behavior. 

Additionally, anomalies in the data serve as useful information to get clear insights of unusual situations that require further investigation. Patterns highlight critical factors, facilitating prioritization and making the business more efficient. It’s important to review all potential implications of the discovered patterns to accurately move forward. 

Mastering pattern recognition offers businesses to: 

  • See new opportunities 
  • Manage situations 
  • Find practical solutions

 

4. Build a Data-Driven Culture 

A data-driven culture helps break down silos across teams and allows employees to collaborate and share data from multiple functional areas. Additionally, staff don’t have to stop and ask for permission to act. They are empowered to make decisions that are relevant to their role. Organizations with a data-driven culture train and educate the staff with the required data-related skills and knowledge.

Data mature organizations offer training to help employees enhance their data literacy skills. There are different levels of data literacy and employees should have the appropriate level of data literacy for their roles to power business strategy. Additionally, business leaders and data teams share a common language and framework around data.

Organizations that use data well experience a number of benefits, including: 

  • Greater revenue from improved performance and outcomes 
  • Cost savings due to increase efficiency 
  • Greater competitive differentiation
  • Improved products and services because there is a better understanding of the customers

 

5. Create a Central Source of Truth

A single source of truth is aggregating data from multiple sources into one and multiple teams have easy access to it. This saves time as you don’t have to spend hours looking at unverified data. Data mature organizations provide staff access to clean, high-quality data they need to perform their daily work. 

It’s important to have a central source of truth containing high-quality data for staff to easily access and work with. However, processes must be in place to prevent and mitigate data-related ethical and privacy concerns. There are a number of organizations that have multiple tools where data is stored and it can lead to confusion and duplication. 

Having a single source of truth allows business to have better: 

  • Organizational performance 
  • Data quality 
  • Data security

 

Deliver Critical Insights With Data Analysis

Effectively communicate your findings to stakeholders and ensure alignment with our course, Business-Driven Data Analysis. You’ll learn a proven and repeatable approach you can leverage across data projects to deliver timely analysis with actionable insights and strong return on investment. Ensure you’re driving impact in an evolving data and business landscape. 

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Author

  • Pragmatic Institute is the transformational partner for today’s businesses, providing immediate impact through actionable and practical training for product, design and data teams. Our courses are taught by industry experts with decades of hands-on experience, and include a complete ecosystem of training, resources and community. This focus on dynamic instruction and continued learning has delivered impactful education to over 200,000 alumni worldwide over the last 30 years.

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