The Basics of Data Analysis

Data analysis is a set of steps that take raw information and transform it into insights that help guide your business’s operations and make better decisions. It begins with identifying the problem you want to solve, gathering the related data, and then analyzing it with a variety of methods of analysis to discover the underlying patterns or relationships. The result is usually an increase in efficiency or profitability.

To begin the process, you must establish a goal. This could be as straightforward as a specific sales goal or as complicated as predicting the likelihood of customer churn. You will then have to decide on which type of data analysis you will use to accomplish your desired goal. Diagnostic data analysis attempts to discover known connections between data points to explain observations. Predictive modeling on the other hand is based on past results to predict outcomes.

The next step is obtaining the data, which could include collecting it from internal sources like CRM software, internal reports and archives. It may also involve importing external data, which requires working with data from many sources in various formats. Once you have the data, you can begin preparing it for analysis by organizing and cleaning it, transforming it if necessary and analyzing it using diverse statistical techniques.

After the data has been analyzed after which you have to create a summary of the results and presents them in a straightforward format for your readers. This may require you to write for laypeople or collaborate with a statistician in order to translate technical terms and procedures into readable content.