You might have been told that you need to hire a data analyst or a consultant to generate more and better data for your company to grow; but what exactly is data and how can your business benefit from it?
What is data?
Data can be understood as a collection of facts that we can find everywhere such as, numbers, words, measurements, observations, or a description of things. A distinction is made between qualitative and quantitative data.
Quantitative data refers to numerical information, it consists of two different types. Discrete and Continuous data. Discrete data can only take certain values like whole numbers. For instance, when you ask how many colleagues are in the office, or how many times did Ozzie Albies hit a home run. You probably don’t even know it, but you are collecting discrete data every time you answer these types of questions.
Continuous data represents a scale of measurement that can consist of numbers other than whole numbers, such as decimals and fractions. Continuous data would consist of values like height, weight, length, temperature, and so on. To produce these values, you will need tools like a ruler, measuring tape, scale, or thermometer. For instance, when you measure the amount of rain, in inches or mm, that falls in a storm.
Qualitative data as you probably guessed is non-numerical and is used to describe or understand a phenomenon. You get qualitative data by asking. “what does this mean” or “why is this like it is”. So instead of measuring how many views you have on your social media page, you will ask who is viewing your page or what do they like the most about your posts. In this way, qualitative data can support your quantitative data to help you get a better overview of your page.
You can also use qualitative data to classify or categorize something for example if you have an inventory of shirts you can collect shirt size data that is divided into categories such as small, medium, and large.
So why do we use data?
There are many different reasons why we use data. It can be used to answer a question, tell a story or implement a strategy. Asking the right questions provides a focus and makes it easier to find patterns within the data. Here are some other reasons why to use data.
- Data can give you a baseline from which to measure improvements. For example, when you are jogging and you use a device to track your run, and based on set baseline time you can measure your improvements over time.
- Data is used to predict the future. Not everything is written in stone, so it’s not sure that something will happen tomorrow based on what happened today. However, by documenting your data, you can see trends and patterns that can help you make future estimates or conclusions. Let’s say your computer analysis (analytics) data is telling you that your website is growing month after month. You can predict that is likely to continue to grow and therefore you should invest more resources in your web design and online costumer journey.
- Data breeds innovation. When you distribute data across an organization it will help generate new ideas. If everybody has access to data, it will give your team better insight into the organization and therefore come up with better ways of doing things. It may inspire new products and processes and promote a culture of innovation. For example, when you have a customer experience survey, you will analyze the result in order to see where you must improve or come up with better customer experience in order to keep your customer happy.
- Data is your competitive advantage. The data you collect for your business, such as marketing analytics or CRM information is always unique to your business. When you combine all the above explanations for the use of data, you will have a big competitive advantage because you understand your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Analyzing this data correctly will help you to improve or innovate based on what’s actually happening to your business.
Now that you know the “what” and “why” of data, you are ready to go a step further in understanding data and its interpretation. Keep an eye out for our next blog that will cover big data, how to process and manage all of the information that is being digitalized and found online. If this blog has triggered your curiosity and you want to know more or start using data better in order to grow better, feel free to schedule your appointment with us.