Avoiding Analysis Paralysis

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In a previous post I discussed the need to purge customer data stores with customer data we are not using. Even after this de-cluttering exercise you may still find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of data that you have at your disposal. As a result you may find yourself in an ongoing cycle of analyzing and reporting out on the same data in an attempt to derive new insights, but to no avail. Rather than taking an open-ended approach hoping to find the proverbial needle in a haystack, I suggest you borrow a page from science and take a more hypothesis driven approach.

I’ve outlined the 5 high-level steps to this approach below.

1. Problem Definition

Clearly specify the problem or question you are attempting answered within the context of the larger customer / marketing / business challenges you are facing.

2. Structure the Problem

Develop a number of hypothesized solutions by answering the following:

* What is the biggest problem?
* What could be driving it?
* What are potential solutions?

3. Data Analysis

Identify data and research needed to validate or refute each of your hypothesis. Conduct a review of available data and research and determine if each if your hypotheses are valid.

4. Prioritization

More than likely you will have successfully validated more than one of your hypotheses. From here you need to review and assess the relative merit of each identified opportunity in order to streamline into a manageable set of initiatives to move forward on.

5. Roadmap

After you’ve prioritized your opportunities coming out of your hypothesis validation you will need to take into consideration any key dependencies and feasibilities for implementing. In doing so, you can map out the timing of implementing each of your opportunities.

I think you will find by utilizing this scientific hypothesis based approach to problem solving you will be much more focused and efficient with your data analysis. As a result you will be able to deliver actionable results much more quickly all the while avoiding getting stuck in the analysis – paralysis cycle.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

John Strabley
An experienced consultant and entrepreneur, John Strabley shares his progressive skills with clients as a Chief Strategist at Optumine. His clients have included Disney, ESPN, Verizon, Roche, USPS, Motorola, John Deere, Sotheby's, British Airways, SAP, AstraZeneca, Nielsen, Citrix, Wyeth and AARP.

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