Imagine that there’s someone in your business who could offer amazing insight into how to improve your customer service, point to inefficiencies in your processes, help you drive growth and more. You’d listen, right? But what if that person was hidden away in an office and no-one ever consulted them. That would be a huge, missed opportunity.
And yet, for many businesses, that’s exactly how it is with data. Many business owners know they have data, but don’t know what it is telling them and some don’t know what data they have or even where it’s stored. Their data has a story to tell – but they don’t know what questions to ask, or how to ask them. Here are three questions you can ask yourself to find out if your data is trying to tell you something – and whether it’s time to start listening.
Do you know where your data is held?
Really this should be a two-part question. Do you know what data you have – and where it is held? If you want to start a ‘conversation’ with your data, first you have to figure out what you have, and locate it. You might have data sources you haven’t thought of. EPOS records for example can give you insights into customer behaviour. Trello data might throw light on the efficiency of your internal processes. CRM data could provide insight into customer satisfaction. All of these data sources have something to say. You just need to listen!
Do you know what data you need?
If you’re just getting started on your journey toward becoming a data led business, it’s a good idea to focus on one area for improvement to start with. So, once you’ve figured out what data sources you have, you need to establish which ones will help you answer the questions you have. Think of it as a business meeting with an agenda – if you want to make progress, you need to stick to one topic at a time.
Do you know how to ask the right questions?
Once you’ve located your data and narrowed down an area to focus on, you’ll need to start asking questions – and getting answers that make sense to you. There are a number of data tools that can help you with this part of the journey. Microsoft Power BI is one particularly accessible and powerful tool that you can use to create data dashboards. A dashboard lets you – or anyone you authorise – interrogate and visualise your data. Put simply, once you have your data organised and a dashboard set up, anyone you choose can easily ask questions of the data, and receive clear, accessible answers.
If your answer to any of the above questions was ‘don’t know’, then it’s clear that your data has something to say – and you would do well to listen. If you’re not sure what to do next, talk to us and we’ll help you get the conversation with your data started.