Can’t See the Wood for the Trees

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In this digital age we’re awash with data. All this data can be an amazing tool, but if you don’t know what to do with it, a huge amount of raw data is worthless. It’s easy to get so overwhelmed with data that you can’t see the wood for the trees. We often get so caught up in capturing that data, the point of the whole exercise is forgotten. It’s the analysis and translation of that data that is the key point! There are many ways in which you can use your gathered data to improve your business.

Analysing activity levels

Spotting activity trends is very important. By scrutinising your data you’ll be able to assess the key times consumers are using your services, contacting you or accessing your website. This is very useful for controlling staffing levels. Find out the peak times and you can make sure you have sufficient staff to deal with demand at these times. Customers that are dealt with fast are far more likely to return, and to recommend your business. Likewise, spot the quiet times, and you can cut back on manpower for these times, saving you money.

Analyse website activity and you can do so much more…

Optimise processes

Scrutinise the processes the users go through and you may spot problems. For example, there may be issues with an online form, the validation system may not be working correctly, meaning a user has to try several times to successfully submit a form. You may not be alerted of this, and you can’t rely on users to let you know that something is broken. By analysing your gathered site data, this type of problem can be highlighted and subsequently fixed.

Enhancing user experience

By delving into your data you can find out where mistakes are being made and where confusion lies with users working their way through your processes. You may think your processes are straightforward, or your techy IT department might think it is simple to navigate through, but your end users may not. This can have a devastating effect on your business. If your service is seen as complicated by the end user they will often give up and go elsewhere. If staff are confused, customer service is left lacking. Your analysis can highlight areas for extra staff training, and for clearer, streamlined processes and instruction.

Keeping an eye on your staff productivity

Your data can also give you an insight into just what your staff are doing. Analysis of data can highlight the staff that are most effective, it can also show you which staff members are simply surfing the net when they should be working! Knowing which staff members are effective and which are a drain on your resources is incredibly valuable to any business, large or small.

The key to gathering data and analysing it in a useful manner, is knowing what questions to ask. This will get complicated as you drill down to get more and more data. Think about the business questions you want answering, then look into the best way to find this data, without being overrun with superfluous data that will just confuse matters.


Timing is key with data collection. Many businesses take a snapshot of the data at the same time each day. This can be compared to the previous day, and a roll back can be done in the case of a major problem. However, this is often not sufficient. You’re missing out on a lot if you’re not analysing your data in real time. You need to know when something changes, so you can adapt straight away, not a day later.


Traditionally, data is captured in a relational database. This can be problematic, for example, the data relating to one order will reside in several related tables. When this information is archived, it can hard to piece it all back together. When trying to trace the journey of an order, looking at data in this fragmented fashion can cause a lot of problems and headaches.

Only by collecting relevant data objects together, do you have a valuable tool for looking back and analysing. Looking at fragments of data is not useful and can lead to overblown data and misinformation.

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