Data Analysis – Stop the Spray & Pray

A very short thought on data analysis and the use of data to make decisions.  I often hear people in different domains reference “data based decision making”, “data driven business”, and the list goes on …

But what so many people follow is the “Spray and Pray” approach of data analysis.  They collect as much data as possible, they spray it on the wall for everybody to see and pray that something meaningful surfaces.

What they miss is that any data analyst worth their salt would do the following:

  • Identify the most important data
  • Explain why that data is important
  • Relate what that important data means and its shortcomings / limitations
  • Recommend what actions should be taken based on that data (non action is appropriate response as well)

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