Data-Driven Decision Making: How to Use Analytics to Improve Business Performance

Newsweek Magazine
Data-Driven Decision Making: How to Use Analytics to Improve Business Performance

In the age of big data, businesses are faced with an overwhelming amount of information to process and analyze. To stay ahead of the competition, leaders must leverage data and analytics to make informed decisions and identify areas for improvement within their companies.

By utilizing data visualization tools, predictive analytics and machine learning algorithms, leaders can gain valuable insights into customer behavior, market trends and business operations. Below, 14 Newsweek Expert Forum members share several ways that leaders can use data and analytics to improve business performance, increase productivity and drive innovation.

1. Conduct Operational Assessments

Data analytics drive operational assessments. This can include workflow effectiveness, healthy capacity, process outcomes and automation opportunities. – Britton BlochNavy Federal

2. Inform Decision-Making Processes

By implementing and tracking KPIs (key performance indicators) over time, leaders can collect data, analyze and drive informed decisions with measured metrics. This allows them to gain insight into areas of improvement. – Alan WozniakBusiness Health Matters (BHM) Executive Consulting

3. Understand Client Needs and Desires

Be proactive in gathering and publishing data that you have put research dollars and expertise behind. Not only will this data help you make better decisions about your avatar’s needs and desires, but it will also improve your professional standing within your industry. – Ryan CarrollWealth Assistants

4. Create Visual Representations

Leverage data through data design and visualization. First, you get the data; then, you sort it. The real challenge of insights comes with visual representation. We are visual-minded, and because the information we process depends on looking for incoherences between projections and what’s actually happening in a business, there is no better way than choosing the right visual medium (i.e., graphs). – Jacob MathisonMathison Projects Inc

5. Support and Justify Decisions

I harness the power of data. It supports my decisions and helps me make a case when attempting to get various stakeholders on board. Data helps me tell the real story, many times, to myself. It allows me to remove emotional ties to people or things and implement facts. However, one thing I don’t sacrifice is purpose. I believe there can be and should be a balance between purpose and data-driven decisions. – Uriel SaenzTHE US LIFESTYLE GROUP LLC

6. Collect Behavioral Information

A lot of data relies on what consumers say. What matters, though, is what they do. To truly understand your customer journey and uncover growth opportunities, leverage data on behavior. One pro tip is to deploy behavioral micro A/B tests in your welcome flow to discover ways to personalize your marketing positioning and improve onboarding as well as other areas. – Gergo VariLensa

7. Create a Meaningful Story

The key to success is to turn the data into meaningful information using intuition and experience. Otherwise, it’s all just “fun with numbers.” You can spin any story you want depending on how you slice the data, but the human element is key for interpretation. Apply old-school gut instinct on what the data means. – Margie KieselAvaneer Health

8. Compare and Contrast

A key point in analyzing data is to compare and contrast. This is especially true when you have offerings both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Comparing what is being purchased in each will help you identify weak spots overall in your company and mark them for improvement. For instance, an item that is only being purchased in stores has a reason behind that. You need to find out what it is. – Baruch LabunskiRank Secure

9. Monitor Leading Indicators of Success

Leaders can leverage data and analytics to make fact-based business decisions by monitoring leading and lagging indicators of success and quickly identifying areas for improvement. Insights extracted from well-defined metrics and trends using OKRs (objectives and key results) or KPIs can be used to navigate business landscapes with a fair amount of certainty. – Lillian GregoryThe 4D Unicorn

10. Improve the Customer Experience

To assess client feedback via social media, surveys and reviews, leaders might develop a sentiment analysis tool that combines natural language processing and machine learning. Leaders can improve customer experience, product development and marketing tactics by spotting patterns in customer sentiment and making educated decisions. – Dr. Kira GravesKira Graves Consulting

11. Understand What Will Help Your Business

We are swimming in a lot of data and analytics these days. The key is to understand what really matters. One metric might attract a lot of media attention but not matter to your company while another metric might be obscure yet important to your future. Pay attention to what really matters, then disregard the rest. – Zain JafferZain Ventures

12. Measure and Track Business Performance

One specific way that leaders can leverage data and analytics is by using key performance indicators (KPIs) to track and measure business performance, identify trends and patterns and make data-driven decisions. By analyzing customer data as well as financial and operational metrics, leaders can identify areas for improvement and optimize business processes to drive growth and success. – Joseph DeWoodyValor

13. Find Areas for Improvement

We measure statistics through analytics. This offers us direct insights into customer behavior and deep insights into what areas stand in need of improvement. – Tammy SonsTn Nursery

14. Increase Efficiency and Reduce Costs

Data analysis has been around for decades. If a business leverages this data in the right way, it can gather information about its customers’ needs and preferences as well as things it needs to work on as a company. These analyses can help inform business decision making, possibly increasing efficiency, reducing costs and otherwise improving the company’s financial status. – Tammy McCroryMcCrory Center: Behavioral Health