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5 Steps to Making Data-Powered Decisions That Drive Results.


Business metting about numbers

Introduction

 

First, let’s start at the beginning and understand what data driven decision making is.  Data driven decision making refers to the process of making business decisions that are informed by data, rather than intuition or observation alone.

 

This approach is becoming increasingly important, as data helps guide companies to optimise performance, increase efficiency, and achieve business goals. There are 5 key steps to becoming a more data-driven organisation:

 

  1. Define your objective - What business goal are you trying to accomplish? Get very specific.

  2. Collect relevant data - Identify what data will help you make better decisions about achieving your goal.

  3. Analyse the data - Turn that raw data into useful insights through statistical analysis and data visualisation.

  4. Draw actionable insights - Turn your analysis into clear recommendations on what actions to take.

  5. Make data-driven decisions - Implement those actions, then collect more data to see how they impacted your original goal.

 

This post will walk through each of these 5 steps in detail, to help your organisation leverage data to make smarter choices that directly support your most important business objectives. With the right process, data can become an invaluable asset for making strategic decisions and driving growth.

 


Step 1 - Define Your Objective 

 

To make data-driven decisions, you first need to define exactly what business objective you want to achieve. This should be as specific and measurable as possible. Rather than a vague goal like "increase sales", define a clear objective such as "increase sales of Product A by 15% in Q3". 

 

The more focused your objective, the easier it will be to collect relevant data, draw insights, and measure success. Take the time upfront to clarify what you want to accomplish. Get agreement from stakeholders on the precise objective.

 

Ask questions like:

  • What specifically do we want to achieve? 

  • How can we measure success?

  • Who needs to be involved?

  • What constraints or challenges might we face?

 

With a well-defined objective, you'll have a target to aim for. As you analyse data and create action plans, you can continually refer back to the objective. It keeps everyone aligned, accountable and focused on the same end goal.


 


Step 2 - Collect Relevant Data

 

In order to make data-driven decisions, you need to collect relevant, high-quality data. Start by identifying what data you need to meet the objective you defined. The data should directly relate to the key metrics that will indicate success or progress towards your goal.

 

For example, if your goal is to increase website traffic, you'll want to collect data on current traffic levels, referral sources, page views, bounce rate, etc. If your goal is to boost sales, collect data on leads, conversions, average order value, and related e-commerce metrics.

 

Once you know what data you need, focus your efforts on capturing complete, accurate, and timely information. The data should be as current and real-time as possible, within the bounds of practicality. Out of date or incomplete data will skew your analysis.

 

Take the necessary steps to ensure data integrity. Spot check figures, validate against primary sources when possible, document your methodology, and note any caveats or limitations. Correct any errors or inconsistencies.

 

High-quality, relevant data doesn't necessarily mean big data. Start by identifying the key metrics that will be most insightful for your objective. Avoid collecting extraneous data just for the sake of it. More data requires more cleaning and organisation effort. Keep your focus on retrieving the data that matters most.

 

With the right data in hand, you'll be equipped for insightful analysis and informed decision making aligned to your goals. Careful attention to collecting relevant, timely and accurate data provides the essential foundation.

 




Step 3 - Analyse the Data

 

Once you've collected all the relevant data, the next step is to analyse it to spot trends, patterns and relationships that will lead to actionable insights.

 

You'll want to start by cleaning and processing the data. This involves removing any incomplete, incorrect, duplicated or irrelevant data points. You may also need to transform the data by aggregating it into groups or categories.

 

Next, look at visualising the data through charts, graphs and dashboards. Visualisations make it easier to spot the trends and anomalies in the data. They provide an overview of the data that identifies areas you'll want to analyse further.

 

Some key things to look for in your data analysis:

 

  • Trends over time - is there a steady increase, decrease, seasonal pattern or sudden shift?

 

  • Correlations - do certain metrics move up or down together in a predictable way?

 

  • Segment differences - does performance vary significantly by different customer, product or regional segments?

 

  • Outliers - are there data points or clusters that stand out from the norm? These could point to opportunities or issues.

 

  • Funnel drop-offs - where are customers dropping out of a conversion funnel? This highlights areas for improvement.

 

  • Changes before & after - how did metrics shift after events like a new product launch, marketing campaign or process change?

 

Thoroughly analysing the data from multiple angles will ensure you have the necessary context for drawing meaningful insights that lead to good decisions. Consider what questions you want the data to answer to focus your analysis.

 




Step 4 - Draw Actionable Insights

 

Once you've analysed the data, it's time to interpret the results and draw out the key insights. The goal here is to identify takeaways that are directly tied to the original objective you defined.

 

Some best practices for drawing actionable insights include:

 

  • Look at the data analysis in the full context of your goal. Don't just focus on exciting statistics - make sure they actually help inform better decisions.

  • Consider both the hard numbers and trends over time. The direction things are moving can be just as meaningful as absolute figures.

  • Highlight where your assumptions were validated or invalidated. The data may reveal unexpected results.

  • Note any major outliers or surprising correlations. Dig into these to understand what may be driving them.

  • Identify gaps where additional data collection could help strengthen insights.

  • Summarise the 2-3 top-level insights tailored to your objective. Look for the vital few nuggets that matter most.

  • Focus on deriving insights, not just recapping statistics. Insights add meaning and context.

  • Draw connections between metrics and KPIs to understand the full picture.

  • Highlight insights that can drive measurable impact if acted upon.

 

The key is to break the data analysis down into concise, meaningful, and action-oriented insights. They should shed light on what the data means for decisions and strategy. With clear insights in hand, you're ready for the next step.

 


Step 5 - Make Data-Driven Decisions 

 

The final step of the data-driven decision making process is to actually make decisions based on the insights you gathered. This is where the rubber meets the road.

 

  • Use the insights from your analysis to actively guide your decision making. Don't just gather data and insights without acting on them. Make sure you are using the insights to inform real business decisions.

 

  • Continuously evaluate the outcomes and effectiveness of your decisions. Track performance indicators to determine if your choices had the intended impact and outcomes.

 

  • Be prepared to refine your approach based on results. Data-driven decision making is an iterative process. Use feedback loops to determine if your decisions are working and make adjustments as needed.

 

  • Don't become paralysed by analysis. While data should inform decisions, you still need to use judgment and experience. Set decision deadlines to prevent over-analysis.

 

  • Balance data-based decisions with vision. Don't lose sight of the bigger picture or make decisions focused solely on short-term metrics.

 

  • Foster a culture of experimentation. Use A/B testing and small pilots to test decisions before full implementation. Quick experiments can reveal flaws and build confidence.

 

  • Automate recurring decisions whenever possible. Take advantage of algorithms and rules-based systems so you can focus your efforts on more strategic issues.

 

  • Review decisions periodically to prevent analytics models or algorithms from becoming outdated. Data ages quickly, so revisit past decisions when new data emerges.

 

By anchoring your decisions in data and insights while also applying vision, judgment and agility, you can make strategic, impactful choices that help your business succeed.

 




How Sontai Can Help You Become More Data Driven

 

Sontai offers advanced data analytics capabilities that can help your organisation make more informed, data-driven decisions. Our team of data scientists, analysts, and engineers can help you:

 

 

  • Analyse and model your data to make sure that it is both relevant to your business goals and clean enough to use.

 

  • Visualise your data through interactive dashboards, reports and graphs, making insights clear and easy to grasp for decision makers. We help you present data in the most impactful way.

 

  • Embed data analytics into your processes and operations, building a truly data-driven organisation. We can provide training and change management guidance.

 

Sontai has helped leading companies across industries leverage data analytics to drive real business value. Some examples include:

 

  • Accelerating time to decisions by over 40 days by automating processes.

 

  • Eliminated 350+ days a year of manual reporting, giving more time for analysis rather than processing.

 

  • Increased sales for a consumer goods client by 13% by helping them identify opportunities.

 

The first step is identifying your key business objectives and questions. Sontai is ready to partner with you to leverage data to drive better decisions and results.

 



 
TAKE ACTION TODAY

Sontai can help you become more data driven


Talk to us today and see how Sontai can drive data driven decision making in your business.




 



Conclusion

 

Becoming a data-driven organisation is a journey that requires commitment and a systematic approach. By following the five steps we outlined, you can ensure that data is integrated into your decision-making:

 

  • Define a clear objective for your data analysis

  • Collect relevant data from all available sources

  • Analyse the data to identify trends, patterns and insights

  • Draw out the key insights that will drive your decisions

  • Make decisions informed by data, not intuition

 

The benefits of shifting to data-driven decision making are immense. With data guiding your strategy, you can rapidly test ideas, minimise risks, and optimise your operations. Data helps remove bias, emotion, and guesswork from important calls. Over time, it leads to higher productivity, performance, and profitability across the organisation.

 

While getting started with data-driven decision making can seem daunting, taking it step-by-step will ensure an effective rollout. With the right data infrastructure and analytics tools in place, paired with a culture of data democratisation, your company can become truly data-driven. This will equip you with a significant competitive advantage in a data-rich world.



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