It’s often easy to get lost in the bells and whistles that most data and analytics tools offer. Fancy visualizations, interactive dashboards, and modern user interfaces make these tools difficult to say no to.
But what tends to get lost in all the technology is a simple question: what business questions is my data going to answer?
Business Drives the Data
Your business questions need to drive your data integration, utilization, and visualization. Similar to the concepts behind the top-down data strategy, organizations need to shift their focus. The predominant question we often hear is “what can my data tell me?”; the main question needs to be “what questions should I ask of my data”. The latter reflects a focus on the business first and the data/technology second, while the former is focused too heavily on the data and less on the needs of the business.
When defining your data strategy and planning to build out your data and analytics program, focus on the top business questions you want answered like:
- Where are our top cross-sell/up-sell opportunities?
- Are we properly delivering products and services to the appropriate customer segments?
- Do we need to invest more heavily in digital channels?
- Who are our most profitable/least profitable customers?
Once the key questions have been asked, you can then figure out what data is required.
The Unfortunate Truth
Most organizations unfortunately design their data solutions using the “what is my data telling me” approach. This approach is analogous to having a general contractor drop several truckloads of materials off at a construction site and asking, “what do you think we should build?”.
Before designing and implementing any data and analytics solution, spend the necessary time determining how you would like data to strategically support the organization. Focus first on your KPIs and then explore the operational reporting needs. With this discovery completed, you have the foundation of what will constitute a blueprint for your data and analytics solution.
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