Data analysis has become one of the hottest jobs of the 21st Century. There's no doubt that having data to inform your business decisions is incredibly useful. However, businesses are now often too quick to jump to data analysis before they have really decided what data will be the most useful.
When confronted with certain business issues, for example wanting a deeper understanding of your customers, behaviour data analysis will definitely help to solve the problem. However with other problems, such as wanting to create a new revenue stream, it's important to take a step back and ask the necessary questions to decipher what data it is you need before you begin your analysis. Questions that would apply to the new revenue stream example could include 'how much revenue are we looking to gain?', 'how much is the company willing to invest in this project?' and 'are we able to cannibalise existing revenue to get there?'.
By asking the necessary questions before embarking on data analysis, you will ensure that your time and the time of your business isn't wasted by collecting data with no real purpose.
Analytics. The word alone evokes thoughts of spreadsheets, pie charts, late nights at the office, and many other unpleasant things. Analytics is also typically thought of as complicated and difficult. From another angle, though, analytics is really quite simple. It is about using data in a sensible way to find solutions to business problems.