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Shrinking big data

October 12, 2017

How graduates of MBA courses can decide which metrics to track

Shrinking big data

Big data continues to be a hot topic for discussion in executive circles, but it's also a concept that remains elusive, mysterious, or intimidating to some. What exactly should be tracked? How can you avoid being overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information being gathered? There is certainly a right way to approach data collection and analysis, and understanding what is meant to be accomplished with these techniques can provide valuable instruction to put you on the right path.

Want to know how to shrink big data down and track the metrics that make sense for your business? Here's what you need to know to get started.

Your data collection should largely revolve around important problems

Data collection should be used to conduct analysis that will help improve outcomes for your business. As a rule, this means your data collection should largely be centred on the biggest "problems" your business is attempting to solve for itself.

This will mean different things to different businesses. If you're getting a lot of traffic to your website but very few sales resulting from those visits, you might want to use data collection to figure out why you aren't converting. If you have more orders than you can fulfil, you might want to use data collection to identify bottlenecks in production that are preventing you from doing so. Taking a solutions-oriented approach won't tell you the specific metrics to track, but it can greatly narrow your focus, hopefully putting you in the right areas.

Executive graduates of MBA courses will be well situated to identify the key areas for improvement within their workplaces, thanks to broad training across fields including operations management, marketing and sales, and other categories common to most businesses. These skills will help you determine the areas you really need to address and give you a solid foundation to begin with.

A team works together
For best results, put problem-solving at the heart of data collection

Graduates of business courses should apply cost-benefit principles to data gathering

Data analysis is not magic; it requires investment to track data. There might be sensors to buy, specific software to invest in, new processes to train employees in, or other items or procedures that take time and money to implement. When choosing which metrics to track for a business, it is therefore worth asking if the investment of time or resources can be justified by whatever benefit you intend to achieve. Will you make or save enough to profit from data tracking?

A woman working with a calculator
Determining whether data collection will pay off is an important part of choosing metrics

It may be difficult for some businesses to answer this question, particularly if they are only now looking to begin or expand data tracking within their operations. Top schools like WU Executive Academy, though, offer business courses in information systems management and data-driven decision-making taught by top academics and professionals, and which can offer a useful way forward. If you want to ensure you know the best way to determine what kinds of investments in data tracking are worthwhile, this kind of education can be of great benefit.

Do you want to learn how to pick the right data to track in your workplace?

Contact WU Executive Academy to learn more about our Master in Business Administration programs!

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