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Trending This Fall: Data Analytics

November 07, 2016

by Michel Guillet
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3 ways to get the most out of your business data

Fall is a great time of year. With beautiful views and football games, a long drive through the changing leaves on the way to a big game can be the perfect fall moment, where a love for the season is re-ignited.

However, there’s a new player on the fall landscape: data. While you may think those photos that you take of stunning fall colors and your family at the game are just pictures to view and share, they’re actually data – compiled and categorized.

Data is now an integral part of almost everything we do, including the sports fan experience. If you’re an avid football fan like me, consider how much of your time is spent reading football-related statistics and watching sports analysts who measure player performance based on data points.

Even at NFL stadiums, giant screens project player stats and team rankings during the game, giving you quantifiable data to enhance your experience. And let’s not forget Fantasy Football. An NFL football game is a lot more fun with Fantasy Football. For fans across the country, Fantasy Football brings a whole new dimension to the game.

Data influences so many aspects of our lives, helping us make decisions and connecting us to the information we need. And while data might neatly fit into our personal lives, the same thing usually can’t be said for data and metrics in our professional lives.

Data in the workplace can be more complex and difficult to manage. How do you transform your professional data experiences to be more like your personal ones?

Here are 3 ways to get the most out of your business data:

  1. Use SMART Metrics

    With the wealth of data at our fingertips, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Using SMART metrics ensures a focus on valuable and usable metrics. A metric is defined as SMART when it meets the following criteria:

    1. Specific – Has a precise understanding or meaning.
    2. Measurable – Quantifiable.
    3. Actionable – Spurs the data consumer or reader to do something with it.
    4. Relevant – Connected to business performance.
    5. Timely – Can be measured and reported within the timeframe needed to react.


    SMART metrics un-complicate things. Think about that camera you got last year with all the bells and whistles. If you spend all of your time at the game messing with the settings, you might miss the winning touchdown. Using SMART metrics allows you to focus on the right things at the right time so that your data becomes a useful and productive tool to help you achieve your business goals.

  1. Emphasize Composite Metrics
    A composite metric is a single metric made up of many combined metrics to show comparisons and monitor trends, offering a “snapshot” of business performance in a single view. With composite metrics, your data can tell a richer story without being weighed down by too many complicated numbers.
  1. Rely on Charts
    Have you noticed how often professional NFL analysts use charts, sketches and other visual displays? What sports commentators and others have figured out is that humans are visual learners. More than 50% of the brain’s efforts are dedicated to processing visual information. Charts and visualizations help us understand data quickly and efficiently, as well as allow us to easily share information and reach a wider audience.

With these tips, you can begin to get more out of your business data. If you’d like to learn more about how you can further leverage data for valuable business insights on your clients and operations, check out these data analytics resources.

Michel Guillet, Agency/Broker Solutions product manager at Applied Systems, has been leading the design and implementation of data solutions for more than 25 years. His experience includes working with structured and unstructured data across consumer goods, telecommunications and the government. Michel is also an adjunct professor of data visualization at Georgia State University.

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