If you don’t consider yourself tech savvy, phrases like ‘the cloud’ and ‘big data’ may not click with you. You use your smart phone and computer every day, but if things go wrong, the IT guy is on speed dial.
But fear not: you can become data savvy without being tech savvy. It simply requires a change in thinking.
Realise data is already a part of your life
Netflix, Pandora and Amazon are all companies that use data to push suggestions to the customer based on the stored information of selections they’ve made. Likewise, travel sites use data, which they filter according to dates and destinations you enter.
Those sites are pretty easy to use, right? Without stored data, they wouldn’t be nearly as effective. And it’s likely you use one of these services or one like these on a regular basis.
Understand how data is already used in the business world
For companies, data is a powerful tool because it provides the ability to analyse large amounts of information in real time.
Google is one company that employs big data for what they refer to as ‘people analytics.’ They collect information on the individuals that make up the company to predict and plan for hires, promotions and development.
Big data is more than a buzzword. It gets attention because it changes the way companies and teams are being run.
Learn the ways data can help you manage
The use of data isn’t limited to projects in companies the size of Google. Data can be used on any scale and produce insights into your own role and the way you manage your team. For instance:
Managing time and workflow. Say you use a self-service HR tool. With human resources information stored, you could access histories of hours spent on projects and schedules when trying to plan future workflow for the team.
Supplier management. Using data to support how you manage suppliers can allow you to negotiate better or find a better vendor.
If you can store the information, you can use it. So how do you effectively store mounds of data in a way that doesn’t prompt you to call IT every time you need an insight?
Use online tools to make data no big deal
The same principle that makes Netflix so easy to use drives creators of online tools for business. They use intuitive interfaces so that as you work, you don’t think about the tech behind it.
For example, Turbine can be used for HR, purchasing and expenses. But as you use it, it stores that information. You can then export that data into a comprehensive report that allows you to make supported decisions.
Learn which insight to pull to the forefront
With data, the goal is ‘to complement human decision makers, not replace them.’ For data to be effective, there has to be a human component in the equation who ‘knows how to use the data.’
Jon Morris, CEO of Rise Interactive, writes, ‘The good news is that the data provides access to a wealth of insights. The bad news is that the insights are rarely waiting at the surface, so having the quantitative foundation to know how to use the data is key.’
Data is a tool and tools like Turbine can harness it, but it’s up to you to use the right pieces of information from the data to bring useful insights to the surface.
Don’t stress the tech
For almost every business operation, there is an online tool that fits the size of a team, the industry and that’s been designed to be user-friendly so you can focus on the information.
With tools in place for your operations, you don’t have to worry about the tech that makes data happen.
Use the analytical and decision-making skills that landed you the role of manager to make the best use of the data you have, become data savvy and gain more confidence in the decisions you make.