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What Not To Do With Your Data

November 8, 2015

I recently stumbled upon an interesting slideshow on Big Data Minute, and found some key takeaways that anybody working with data should know.

There are many things that you should do with your data to use it to its upmost potential. Those include understanding your data before you manage it, collecting reliable data, focusing on the analytics rather than the hard statistics, and so much more. While these are a few of the many things you should be doing with your data to get results, it is important that you realize that there are also things you shouldn’t do with your data. Some of those include:

1. Don’t forget it’s there…and always growing

With the help of the Internet of Things (IoT), data is being collected everywhere we turn, meaning the amount of data that we have access to is constantly growing. One of the worst things a company can do is simply let the data being collected sit there without touching it. Don’t forget- you can use the data you already have to improve so many different aspects of your business. And hey, why wouldn’t you want your business to be the best it can be?

2. Don’t leave it to someone who doesn’t understand it

Sure, simply looking through your data is better than nothing, but what good will it do if the person looking through it doesn’t understand it? In order to get the most insightful analytics, you need the person (or multiple people) going through the data to understand what the data means, what it doesn’t mean, and where it fits in to that specific company’s needs.

3. Don’t manipulate it to make fake results

Imagine you are on a tight deadline, you need results, and you need them fast. Even though the data may tell you something that may slow or alter the entire process, it is NEVER a good idea to manipulate the data to get what you want. This only will cause a domino effect of problems down the road.

4. Don’t torture it to hide bad news

This tip goes along with the last one, and reminds me of a quote I once heard. “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.” While ignoring the outlier in the data may be the easier road to take at the time, it again will cause many more problems down the road. The only thing bad news should mean is that there is something to change and something to improve. If you hide that, you are restricting your company from growing and improving in itself.

5. Don’t forget that data scientists can use it to save you money

Make sure that you say a big thank you to your data scientists today, because their primary job is to go through your mess of data and help your company in every way possible. Typically the inefficiencies that data scientists find lead to a solution that can save your company a huge amount of time, money, or even both. Let them help you turn your data into actionable information and save you money today!

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