In the year 2022, data sits at the heart of every successful business and many important projects. Learning how to analyze datasets can empower your business to improve marketing, streamline operations, mitigate risks and transform your business model. If you are a new project manager wondering how data can help you, here’s what you need to know.
What Is Data Analytics?
Data analytics refers to the process of investigating raw data to extract wider information about a business or its customers. Using this information, you can utilize data visualization to more conveniently present information and form insights. The more dense and comprehensive the data, the more accurately you can target consumers e.g. via marketing. There are four primary forms of analytics:
- Descriptive analytics (what has occurred over a period of time)
- Predictive analytics (what may occur in the future, based on previous results)
- Diagnostic analytics (why something occurred, such as an increase in sales)
- Prescriptive analytics (what action should now take place, based on previous results)
Understanding and utilizing these forms correctly is key to the success of a digitally mature business.
Within marketing, one of the most valuable uses of data is to establish clear customer profiles. These can help you to identify your high-yield buyers/clients who may represent sustained brand loyalty, large purchases, or who help to spread brand awareness. Understanding these individuals better means segmenting your audience - splitting consumers into groups using simple criteria such as location, age, and gender. You can then build sub-groups with even more specific criteria such as self-perception, listening habits, favorite sports teams, etc.
With an established consumer profile, the marketing often writes itself. Different demographics respond to different styles and methods of marketing — you might find, for example, Gen Z spends more time on social media apps like TikTok but favor ‘authenticity’ from brands. Success happens for a business when its marketing teams and data analysts work in sync. You could even use this information to inform the design of your brand.
Data isn’t just used to diagnose your audiences, it can also be used to optimize the business itself. Large companies tend to use data analysis to improve their efficiency and streamline daily operations to get the most out of their teams. This analysis takes place in real-time, as opposed to quarterly or annual reviews, meaning you can make quick adjustments to workflows, software choices, or personnel directives.
Using data in this manner is one application of process flow mapping and optimization. Data can be extracted from the logs of the various hardware and software used in your project or business, and then it is analyzed using machine learning techniques. This yields a map of activity that can be adjusted in real time by AI to improve operational efficiency.
Similar to marketing, your sales team will benefit directly from advanced data analytics. The right consumer information will allow them to tailor their approach, identify high-quality leads and drive top and bottom-line growth. Better still, the sales process can feedback into the data itself, interactions (such as meetings, emails, or phone calls) will allow you to discover new patterns in completed deals and further insight into customer satisfaction. Over time, you can then use this data cycle to refine your process, maximizing customer acquisition and retention.
Data analytics are crucial to mitigating risks to a business from hackers. They can do this by applying diagnostic and predictive analysis — reviewing breaches, their datasets and then prescribing action to avoid these events in the future. Some companies apply analytics to visualize their audit logs to determine the origins of an attack and then set a course to avoid these in the future. Locating and patching IT vulnerabilities is crucial for the long-term well-being of a business.
Data has become an integral feature of the world economy for a reason — the data itself represents huge value and the ability to harness this data even more so. Take the time to think about how you can integrate data usage and analysis into your own projects and processes. You won’t regret it.
This week's guest post is by Dean Burgess. Dean started Excitepreneur to explore the areas of entrepreneurship that are often overlooked and share with current and aspiring entrepreneurs the stories and lessons he has learned. He fully believes entrepreneurs will lead us to a more exciting future. All it takes is an idea or goal and a desire to see it to fruition. Excitepreneur.net.
Subscribe for Our Project Management Resources, Best Practices, and Tips
Confirm your subscription to receive an email with immediate download access to Project Manager's Resources, a valuable list of books and web sites.
Get the latest tips and updates sent directly to your inbox monthly.
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.