More insights not more data

It is hardly surprising that businesses are obsessed with data. The online activity of consumers is constantly tracked whether at home or on the move.

Businesses want to know what people want and when they want it so they can make them an offer they can’t refuse. Businesses are also collecting masses of data to help them devise their business strategies.

But to succeed it is much more than just being able to collect the data. Mindtree is a tier two Indian IT services firm that specialises in helping its business customers make better use of data. The company works on the Indian biometric ID project, which involves the details of 1.2 people being collected. So it know all about the collection of, but here in this guest blog post Mark Wilsdon and Soumendra Mohanty of MindTree explain a misconception about data.

Smart Data, Not More Data   
By  Mark Wilsdon and Soumendra Mohanty

“One of the biggest misconceptions about the data companies collect is to think that more is better.  That somehow each incremental piece of data collected adds detail to an insight. In reality, though, it is not the amount of data that matters.  It’s how you use it. The question every business should ask itself is this: what questions can be answered by the data it’s collecting?

According to a recent article in Management Review from the MIT Sloan School of Management, a typical company doubles the amount of data it stores every two years. The good news is that this explosion of data opens up a lot of possibilities. However, possibilities and insights are rarely found at the surface of this ocean.

Being smart with data is not about collecting a million tweets.  It is about the in-depth analysis of tweets, including analysing hashtags containing metadata around the device type, geographic location, time and the context of the conversation. In these insights are the true value of data, allowing companies to push information to customers that is context-sensitive and meaningful. 

Companies that are using data to its full advantage look at it in three ways in order to pull as many insights as possible:

An individualistic approach is mostly gut-driven. It relies on analysts who have spent a long time in a particular domain, finding answers that require access to all types of data across various systems.

Process-centric is a disciplined approach to data. It involves consistently employing common processes, and the reuse of components.

A Data-driven approach identifies evidence-based data analysis traits. This pattern requires deeper data analysis than the two approaches above, as it requires an understanding of context, and the application of sophisticated algorithms to identify patterns.

With such a large volume of data, it is impossible to use all of it to develop values and insights. Because of this, it is extremely important to focus on smarter data rather than more data. By searching, visualizing, analysing and distilling insights from the data you have, you can unlock its essential value.

Now that all of society has essentially moved online, we are witnessing a shift from traditional business models to digital business ones. As this occurs, the way customers engage is more important each day.   By focusing on context-sensitive and meaningful insights, companies will effectively utilise the relevant data that is available to them.  With more and more data being made available every minute, smart use of data is the sole path to success for companies of the future.”