Data Analytics: The Importance of Understanding the Business

This blog is part 1 of a 5-part series providing insight into Edgeworth Analytics’ approach to data analytics for businesses. Check back soon for “Data Analytics: Crafting the Fundamental Business Questions.”

Good data work doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

One of the best parts about data analytics is getting the opportunity to come into a new business and help solve problems. But sometimes a client wants to hand us their data and say, “Tell us what’s wrong.” 

That’s not how we operate.

We might know data, but we’ll never know a client’s business as well as the people in that business themselves. That’s why our work begins, not with numbers in a spreadsheet, but with simple conversations.

Getting to Know the Business
In prior projects, we’ve taken fact-finding missions to all sorts of businesses, and it’s these visits—on location or even remotely—that set the stage for the number-crunching to come. For example, we once toured a mushroom farm to see how they were grown, what the growth cycle was, how they were processed, and learn about how the business forecasted its production. 

These Q-and-A sessions greatly enrich and inform our approach to the data. Sometimes, they even turn up answers before we’ve opened a single spreadsheet. Just the simple act of getting members of a business to sit down and talk to us (and each other) can produce surprising insights.

Avoiding Confirmation Bias
And while we try to take in as much information from the client as possible, we’re always on guard to avoid confirmation bias. It does no one any good if a client tells us their hunch, and then we go off and use the data to justify it. Sometimes the client’s hunch is right, but just as often the data leads us to unexpected, and even counterintuitive, insights.

Bringing it all Together
Done correctly (i.e. with ample background knowledge brought to bear on reliable data), there’s always an “aha moment” when you’re working with a data problem. That’s when we know we’ve done a good job: when we provide the insight that people weren’t expecting that allows them to see the situation in a new way.

 

 

Learn more about Edgeworth Analytics’ data analytics consulting services here

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Karuna Batcha

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Karuna Batcha

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