Whether it’s David McCandless waxing eloquent on the TED stage, the NY Times ushering in the age of big data, or new startups racing to carve out a niche in the field, big data is just about everywhere these days. And while big data is being hailed as a potential driver for a better kind of innovation, there’s just a little problem: big data is BIG.
With so many analytics about formerly unmeasurable factors flooding through the gates, it can be difficult to separate the important data from the noise, and to discern how it all fits together. In order to take full of advantage of all big data has to offer, it’s important to find the right tools and approaches for turning a tangled web of raw data turn into actionable insights.
Create a dashboard-driven culture.
We like to think of data as being orderly and neat, but that’s just not so when it’s in its rawest form. For that you need good dashboard reporting software, which can harness, process, analyze and filter data into one easy to navigate dashboard. When data is condensed in this way, you’ll be better able to focus your attention on the most important metrics. You’ll also have a much easier time manipulating and acting on that data when it’s centralized in one place.
Break it down into digestible chunks.
You can’t know every family and house in Game of Thrones right off the bat, nor (much as you might want to) can you read the whole series in one sitting. A flood of data, even that which has already been funneled into a dashboard, needs to be further broken down into smaller chunks to be fully understood. Steve Jobs talked about the innovative use of imagery, as people process information visually. — Business analytics software will enable you to do just this, allowing you to filter data through a range of different measures one at a time as you perform analyses that follow different measurement criterion. This is particularly helpful in pinpointing the most helpful analytics when doing A/B testing.
Visualize raw data to tell a story and find causal relationships.
Despite our very verbal culture, we humans often understand visual language much more intuitively than we understand even in the most cogently constructed verbal arguments. Take one look at Pinterest or viral infographics and it’s easy to understand that visuals often tell an instant, easy to understand and compelling story. That’s why it’s so important to visualize your data using charts and graphs. For people who work very close to the data, this can help you better spot trends, inefficiencies and places for improvement so that you can propose ways for your company to fix small problems before they’re big, and so that you can get out ahead of the competition. Visualization tools also provide an easy way of translating that big data into a message less data-literate people within an organization can understand. They’re sure to get through in a way no written report ever could.
Customize the experience.
Once data is understood at these more basic levels, business intelligence tools can be used to further individualize the data experience. For instance, dashboards can be customized for different teams to provide data and tools relevant solely to the job they need to do, empowering team members to better apply data to their day to day role. When synced with CRM tools, dashboard analytics software will also do a much better job of keeping and tracking much more in-depth customer profiles, allowing a company to better predict and respond to changing customer needs. Data on its own needs to be customized to be understood on the backend and to improve customer experience on the front end.
Comprehending today’s datastream may seem like a task as big as the data itself, but it’s not with the right tools at hand. Use big data to unlock deeper understanding, not overwhelm it in the flood.
image credit: Shutterstock
Rob Toledo is Outreach Coordinator at Distilled, aka marketing coordinator with experience heavily focused online. Technologically driven, with a love for SEO, outreach, link building, content creation, conversion rate optimization, advertising, copywriting, graphic design, SEO, SEM, CRO, Google Analytics, social media, creative content…you get the picture. He blogs at stenton toledo