What are Analytics?

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I have presented at hundreds of venues.  Talked to thousands of people about how they use data to find insights into how their organization is or is not performing.  Most of the time, it goes just like this:

“How many of you use analytics daily? Ten people raise their hands.

How many of you use reporting daily? Almost all of the audience members raise their hands.

How many of those of you doing reporting daily, dump the resulting report data to Excel?  Almost all of them.

How many of you that dump to Excel run sums, counts, averages, summarize the data including Pivot Tables?  Again, almost all of them.

So, all of you use analytics daily then.  The crowd grumbles and laughs.”

Analytics is something we all do, because it is part of how we need to see the world.  We want to measure things and understand those measurements in context of how we work, live and transact life.  Well then, why are we SO afraid of analytics?  What’s the mystery?  What’s the problem?

I think it comes down to the thought that Analytics is some complex mathematical construct.  There must be some innate concern that if we don’t know advanced mathematics, we can’t use analytics.  That’s just not true.

Analytics provides us with fast, simple methods for comparing where we are right now, how things have changed and how we can find patterns in data that surround us.  The key is to find a metric (turnover, headcount) that makes sense to you and use it as a starting point. For what?  

Use it as a starting point to find patterns that enable you to tell stories.  Find the threads of insight in the data that enable you to fee how the data can uncover interesting nuggets of insight.  These nuggets become the foundation to help business leaders make the correlations with the levers they have to make changes in their business to correct and solve for these patterns.

Ask me how I can help you get started to find these nuggets…

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