When we look at our data for insights are we looking for answers or are we looking for questions?
I think these are two very different things and both are equally valuable to business. When we are looking for business insights that are answers we often have some hypotheses or at least an idea in mind when we look at it. We are considering an aspect of the business and we are looking for facts and figures to prove something or find something out.
For example, a retailer might want to know what items were the best contributors to the bottom line last year. What item sold the most (let’s say it was red sweaters) and which had highest margin (let’s say black shoes). With this answer should fill this year’s inventory with red sweaters and black shoes?
Do looking at these facts bring up further questions? Was red a colour that trended last year? Did we have supply line issues with blue sweaters and rarely had them in stock? Was the great margin on black shoes a one-time supplier deal that is not longer in effect? Are we able to capture which product was most requested, whether we stocked it or not?
This may lead us to look at the data again for answers, to dig a little deeper or change the data points we capture.