For a business to grow and evolve in the right direction, it must be able to collect data and analyze it effectively in order to determine the next logical step. Unfortunately, new and even experienced entrepreneurs with years under their belts still make the grave mistake of ignoring the data that’s right in front of them. Some, on the other hand, do not possess the right tools or have not established the right systematic approach towards processing data effectively. To help you collect the right data sets and analyze it, read on further as we discuss these five data gathering and analysis techniques:
Establish the Issues and Opportunities For Data Collection
The first critical step towards data collection is to identify how it plays any part in your day-to-day operations. Start by conducting an internal and external assessment to figure out the specifics of what’s happening in and out of your business by using data scrubbing. Some companies are more rigid and given directions on what problems should be explored and how the data should be gathered. Other companies are given more flexibility to determine when and how exactly they acquire the data to achieve specific objectives. Conduct a thorough evaluation of all existing regulations, practices, and protocols that are applicable to workers and clientele.
Scrape the Web
Web scraping has been around for a couple of decades, and yet a lot of modern businesses are still oblivious to what it is and how it is used to collect data. In a nutshell, scraping the web means extracting information from a website, selecting the important sections, and presenting them in a much more relatable format. Aside from scraping, you can also access data from a website through its public API. Collecting data from websites can be done by checking the site’s API or application programming interface, which is a set of routines and procedures dictating how the site interacts with other sites.
Observation skills are undervalued in the business world. A heightened sense of observation can help you collect accurate data without needing to spend a heavy amount of resources into the process. One scenario wherein observation can be used to collect and analyze data is during social events or project activities. You can observe and document participants’ individual performances, audiences who attended, etc. This approach has many benefits including its non-intrusive nature and the fact that it’s easier than asking participants to fill out a survey form.
Talk to People
Conduct interviews, either in-person or over the phone. Host meetups and focus group sessions. Participate in public forums or other forms of discussion groups. Talking with people can give you a deeper insight and more specific and accurate data sets to work with. Technology can indeed reduce data collection time to the minimum, but the quality of data collected using this method is not always accurate and reliable.
Act on Results
After collecting and analyzing the data, a business can decide to act on the data by either collecting more of the same information or by altering its current business model and strategy. In some cases, a business may need to gather more data since there is not enough to work with or there remains gaps in the data set they are working on. If so, you can either conduct a more thorough assessment or test out a different approach altogether and abandon your current one.
Perhaps the last bit of advice when collecting and analyzing data is to involve your entire workforce. All departments should contribute to your efforts of collecting data, while analysis should be left to a specific team or professional.