Let’s be honest, you have to be a little “mad” to work with data. It’s an art and a science that not everyone can appreciate working in, but everyone is curious about the final figures.
As number crunchers, we may be driven mad by the chaos of data itself. But like Alice in Wonderland, there’s much to be learned from madness – especially when it comes to your data analysis.
Avoid the data madness and learn from Alice’s experiences:
1. [Problem] Growing pains
Much like Alice grew bigger and bigger, so will your data. According to a mind-blowing Forbes article, “Data is growing faster than ever before and by 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet.” That’s almost as crazy as Alice outgrowing a house!
[Solution] Consolidate & visualize
The more data the better; but, it becomes more difficult to manage and filter out important information. Make sure you have processes and systems in place that can grow with your company. Think about adding a business intelligence or data visualization solution that can help you sort and consolidate your data into easily digestible visuals. By representing data through charts and graphs, your audience can quickly analyze results. In fact, your brain can process information in as little as 13 milliseconds if portrayed correctly.
2. [Problem] Poor timing
There’s nothing worse than being late. All too often, we pull information from different systems for a very important meeting – only for the information to become stale the second we print it off. Then by the time we meet to discuss, we’re making decisions based on inaccurate, outdated information.
[Solution] Real-time systems
Dashboards solutions like iDashboards report in real-time. There’s no need to waste time printing off reports or placing charts into PowerPoint slides. You simply present your live dashboards. During the meeting, you can project your dashboards on a screen in real-time and click on a chart to reveal further detailed information.
3. [Problem] Fear of disappointment
People often hide poor performance numbers, in fear that it’ll be “off with their heads!” But the reality is if the poor performance isn’t addressed then it can never be improved. Of course, good performance is great, but improving your lowest performance indicators is even better!
[Solution] Transparency & accountability
Encourage a culture of transparency and accountability. Don’t leave your employees or customers feeling “curiouser and curiouser” for more information. Show off your numbers, whether good or bad, that way you can easily spot areas of improvement. You can even present information on your office LCDs or intranet to increase transparency. The more your audience interacts with your data the more they’ll want to dive in deeper into it.
It may seem impossible to conquer your data but if Alice could believe “as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” then you can certainly overcome your data challenges. If you set up the right goals and track them correctly, you too will begin to “think very few things are really impossible.” After all, you are a data scientist. “You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head … But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best [data scientists] are.”
What are some of your favorite methods for escaping the data madness?
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Even if you’re not the artistic type, this guide will have you thinking like a graphic designer and making informed choices that support your data narrative.