Putting your company data to work requires the combination of commercial insight and data science to tell the real story. We transform the results of the data analytics into tangible and actionable insight which help your business to flourish.

In the real word, data analysis or business intelligence solutions aim to provide insight to assist business to flourish. With many businesses struggling to make sense of their data and create value with their big data investments, the promise of actionable insights sounds wonderful. Forrester reports 74% of firms say they want to be “data-driven,” but only 29% are successful at connecting analytics to action. Actionable insights appear to be the missing link for companies that want to drive business outcomes from their data.

While the promise of actionable insights is seductive, businesses are concerned that the phrase is fast becoming an empty buzzword. Often what is really being offered by many analytics solutions is just more data or information—not insights. Data and insights are not synonyms. Data is the foundation and insights is the result of data analysis. In order to better understand what the insights is, it’s important to understand the subtle differences between Data and Insight.

Data is the raw and unprocessed facts that are usually in the form of numbers and text. Data can be quantitative (measured) or qualitative (observed). Data primarily lives in databases and spreadsheets; Analysis is data wrangling and processing to provide the raw material for insight process to draw conclusions.
The main six characteristic of data insights are:

1. Alignment
When an insight is closely tied to your key business goals and strategic initiatives, it is more likely to drive action. If it is not clear how to react to a specific metric when it significantly increases or decreases, it might be caused by looking at an unnecessary vanity metric. Insights based on key performance indicators (KPIs) and other key metrics inherently engender a sense of urgency that other data will not. It is easier to interpret and convert strategically aligned insights into tactical responses because they often relate directly to the levers in your business that you control, influence or are focused on.

2. Context
It is hard to move forward on an insight if there is a lack of ample background to appreciate why it is important or unique. It is important to have a comparison or benchmark to give data proper context. For example, if the marketing team generated 2,000 leads this week. The reaction to this result could change entirely with a dash of context. If the marketing team typically generates 1,500 leads each week the management team might do nothing. However, if the business just sponsored and exhibited at an industry’s major convention last week, the management team could question why it didn’t translate into significantly more leads. Without accompanying context, an insight can end up raising more questions than action. Having ample supporting details ensures the insight results in action and not unwarranted skepticism and objections.

3. Relevance
A single insight can be both a strong signal for one person and just more noise for another. There is a level of subjectivity when it comes to the relevance of insights. To be relevant, an insight needs to be delivered to the right person at the right time in the right setting. If insights are not routed to the right decision makers, they will not receive the attention they deserve. If insights are not timely, they might be too stale for stakeholders to act on. If insights are trapped in an analytics tool that managers never access or delivered to devices they use infrequently, the insights may never reach the intended audience.

4. Specificity
The more specific and complete the insight is, the more likely it can be acted on. Sometimes insights based on KPIs and other high-level metrics can highlight interesting anomalies but lack sufficient detail to drive immediate action. For example, knowing the revenue is up 25% this month may be a cause to celebrate, but party planning might be premature without deeper insights. It might be the result of a massive fraudulent order messed up the online revenue numbers or a big customer win was based on promised product functionality that will not exist for the foreseeable future. If an insight does not adequately help to explain why something occurred, it is not a proper insight. 

5. Unusual
With so much competing data and information to digest, novel insights will have an advantage over more familiar insights. The first-time data exhibit a particular pattern will be more interesting and compelling than the tenth time, especially if it is already business has a good handle on what’s driving the behavior. Curiosity can drive people to test or verify an unusual or unexpected finding in the hope that it sheds new light on a key subject area. This criterion speaks more to human nature than to how valuable an insight is.

6. communication through visualisation
If people do not clearly understand an insight, why it is important and how it can help them. The insight will be overlooked and forgotten. Communicating insights effectively is important to their adoption and fruition. The right data visualizations and messaging can help explain insights, so they are more easily understood and correctly interpreted. However, poor communication can cause the signal to be lost in the noise. A clearly communicated insight creates a strong signal that is hard to miss or ignore, and it prepares a pathway for action to occur.
With these six criteria an insight can be validated.
Gathering more insights from data can produce tremendous returns for any business. However, “Any powerful idea is absolutely fascinating and absolutely useless until we choose to use it.”
With many years of data analysis and scenario building, I can assist a business to decide which insight/s could be taken into action. While the increased actionability of an insight does not guarantee its adoption or application, it should motivate more individuals within your organisation to think more deeply about the data and encourage them to act on a more consistent basis.