ChristianSteven BI Blog

Power BI Reporting: Moving Analytics to Outcomes

Businesses often talk about the need for data-driven decisions. Yet, 61% of executives do not believe their organizations view data as an asset. Less than 15% believe their organizations are delivering on their data strategy, and less than 25% see their enterprises as data-driven. Many executives are unhappy with the insights derived from their own data analytics.

Part of the difficulty comes from low data literacy among executives and the workforce. About 60% of executives said they did not derive value from data analytics, and almost 80% of the workforce have little to no confidence in their data intelligence skills. Even if organizations have comprehensive data analytics, their workforce cannot turn those into insights. They need tools such as Power BI Reporting to transform analytics into outcomes.

what are data analytics

What are Data Analytics?

Data analysis is exactly what the name implies. It is the process of examining data sets to identify patterns, disprove assumptions, and verify theories. Some people separate data analytics from business analytics, with data having a broader application than business.

Data scientists create programs or models to analyze data. Suppose a company sells power hand drills. The company plans to launch a new product line, but doesn't want to erode sales of its existing line. Historical data are collected on sales of the existing power drills to determine how many were sold in the last year. Sales information is collected on the new and existing power drills for six months after the launch. A program analyzes the data to determine if the sales volume for the older drill has declined. The numeric results derived from this process are data analytics.

Are Analytics Insights?

Analytics results from a computer program. Although the programs can be highly complex and take months to develop, the outcome is still the output from a software application. Insights are derived from analytics.

Insights are "the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing." With analytics, insights happen when the analytics come together into a cohesive picture of what the data is showing. This can provide a light-bulb moment when an analyst examining the data recognizes the gap between what was expected and what is shown.

For example, the power drill data showed that the sales of the existing power drill dropped an average of 2,000 drills per month after the product launch. The data appeared to indicate that the new product was eroding the sales of the existing production. For many organizations, the data would be accepted and resources expended to reduce the erosion rate.

Alternatively, the company could question the result and look more closely at the data. As they looked at the data, the company realized that more variables were impacting the sales figures than the release of a new product line. The data was incomplete.

Eventually, they created a coherent picture of the decline in sales. Supply chain issues lowered the available inventory and severe weather during their peak selling season reduced sales. From the data, they gained an unexpected insight. Customers of the existing power drill were more likely to purchase the item in a store than online, which explained the drop in sales due to weather.

With these insights, the company did not expend resources countering what appeared to be product erosion. Instead, they used the data to develop a better understanding of their customers.

How to turn Analytics into  Insights?

Analytics are the results of software programs designed to extract information from large data sets. Only after people understand what the results are showing can they begin to find insights that can be made actionable. Based on recent studies, most employees and executives lack the skills to deliver those insights. Thus, the first step in turning analytics into insights is improving the workforce's data literacy.

Data Literacy

Most of today's workforce has access to data analytics or business intelligence tools. However, few have been trained on how to use these tools. Less than 20% of global educational systems provide training in how to read, use, and interpret data. That means that 80% of the workforce lacks the skills needed to deliver data-driven insights. 

The lack of clear reporting combined with low data literacy rates illustrates why executives feel that their organizations are not receiving a return on their data analytics investment. Employees need clearer reporting, such as Power BI Reporting, to facilitate data literacy.

Data Democracy

Companies have used data analysts and specialists to create programs and deliver data-based outcomes for decades. Understanding, manipulating, and reporting data were historically left to a select few. In today's environment, everyone should have access to the information they need to perform their jobs. Before individuals can apply data skills, they need to have access to the data. 

At the same time, the data should be presented so people with average data skills can understand the information. Using reporting tools that deliver data in reports and on dashboards makes it easier for employees to access the data they need. As they become comfortable, they will gain the confidence needed to find insights.

Data Insights

Employees and executives cannot move from analytics to outcomes without access to the data and the skills needed to understand it. Once that occurs, organizations will have valuable resources to deliver insights quickly. Imagine what the power drill company could have achieved if they’d recognized the true cause of their decline in sales earlier.

What if the sales region impacted by the severe weather received reports that showed a decline in sales for that period? They could have looked at the data and provided the insight needed to understand the falling numbers were unrelated to product erosion. The insight could be sent to the executives to incorporate into their analysis. There would be no need to wait for added information or delay a decision because data was missing.

The better your tools for analyzing data, the faster you can turn insights into actions. ChristianSteven's PBRS Report Scheduler provides an intuitive tool to filter, format, schedule, and distribute reports. Why not schedule a free trial to see how PBRS can help move analytics to outcomes?



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