29 September 2016

It’s incredible to think of the difference data analysis is making to our world.

data insight

Image from @Twitter

I was reminded of this while following the first debate between US presidential hopefuls Trump and Clinton on the news this week. Similar to methods used in the British elections, news channels were able to quickly gather stats on who they thought had ‘won’ the debate. They looked at how their messages were received by viewers and how often they were mentioned on social media.

One company even created a ‘truth-o-meter’ to measure the level of truth in statements made by both candidates – ranging from ‘true’ to ‘pants on fire’.

In elections, social media provides a particularly helpful tool for getting data on public perception.

Over the next few days, I’m sure both Trump and Clinton will take a close look at the data to see where they did well and where they didn’t. It will, without a doubt, be used to help them campaign and prepare for other debates.

It’s really is amazing how quickly we got used to all sorts of data being available to help us prepare and make better decisions.

I’ve spoken before about the value of data in sports and how using the right data can help give you an advantage. It worked for the British hockey team, who won an Olympic Gold earlier this year thanks to Maddie Hinch’s elaborate notes on their opponents. It works for so many athletes who are able to track their development and the effect of all the small changes they make to their routine.

And it works in business too. We can get data from so many sources; we can get it from our website, internet usage, customer reviews, social media, online mentions. It all helps a great deal in creating a profile of our business and in pinpointing the areas where we are doing well, as well as the ones that need some extra care.

Analysing data not only improves our decision-making, but minimises risks and gives us really valuable insights. This is perhaps the best part of all; it helps us plan for the future. Are we still on track? What should we plan for? Where can we expect to be in five years’ time?

In my opinion, data and stats should never be the only factors when making a decision, but they do help in making one that is more informed and confident.

What do you think – do you look at data to help you make decisions?

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