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Show Me the Data!

Posted by | 10:00am on Monday, April 27, 2009

Accurate data is an essential part of making sound business decisions, developing strategies and insights, and it is the foundation of any good projection or estimate. 

Tonya Harrington, Business Manager at Siren Interactive, contributes this post:

Data analysis is vital to the success and longevity of any business. Wikipedia defines data as:

facts usually collected as the result of experience, observation or experiment, or processes within a computer system, or premises. Data may consist of numbers, words, or images, particularly as measurements or observations of a set of variables. Data are often viewed as a lowest level of abstraction from which information and knowledge are derived.”

Data provides tools to support a hypothesis or theory.  But without a story, it is useless information.  Data alone cannot prove or disprove anything — it is merely a piece of the puzzle.  However, when used to support a vision, data comes alive and the goal is better understood.  Data is a vital part of communication as it helps define and add clarity to the space between the story and the desired conclusion.

Accurate data is an essential part of making sound business decisions, developing strategies and insights, and it is the foundation of any good projection or estimate. Data helps to determine what is probable and what is not.  The weight given to the information should directly relate to its source and should be referenced accordingly.  Data of poor quality or from unreliable sources can yield inconsistent results.

As Business Manager for Siren Interactive, a great deal of my attention is given to analyzing data for our budgets, forecasts and projections of all kinds.  Data is also helpful when used to check one’s process; it offers a benchmark for the purpose of measuring success or failure. As an example, my colleagues analyze web metrics to understand how well we are delivering on our clients’ marketing objectives.

The internet enables access to a vast amount of data that is constantly expanding.  A 2003 study that attempted to quantify the total amount of existing information claimed that,

“Although the Internet is the newest medium for information flows, it is the fastest growing new medium of all time, and becoming the information medium of first resort for its users.”

Interestingly, the promised 2008 update to this report is yet to be published — could it be that there really is TMI?

It is essential that we consider the quantity as well as quality of data and focus on the most important information as we use it to formulate strategies and make business decisions.   In the absence of data we can only wonder.  In the presence of good data we are more secure in our delivery, and the by-product of this is a feeling of confidence.

(Image courtesy of kevinzhengli via Flickr)

About Tonya Harrington

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Siren Interactive
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  • Rare Disease Relationship Marketing Experts
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  • Chicago, IL 60661
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