This is part of a series on strategic data analysis.
Strategic Data Analysis (Part 1) ← Are you here?
Strategic Data Analysis for Descriptive Questions (Part 2) ← Coming soon!
Strategic Data Analysis for Diagnostic Questions (Part 3) ← Coming soon!
Strategic Data Analysis for Predictive Questions (Part 4) ← Coming soon!
Strategic Data Analysis for Prescriptive Questions (Part 5) ← Coming soon!
In my 10 years of working with data in any capacity, I have noticed how much emphasis there is on learning quantitative techniques in order to perform data analysis. I’ve spent thousands of hours honing my knowledge in everything from statistics to machine learning to economics and beyond. However, I found very little guidance in the strategic approach to answering business questions using data analysis. I have also encountered many beginning analysts who frequently confuse data analysis with its quantitative techniques, ignoring the fact that analysis is a powerful way of thinking and a great problem-solving tool – i.e. say that data analysis is not just the product of its methods.
In this multi-part series, I hope to provide an introduction to data analytics that will provide a structured approach to using analytics to answer business questions. In part one, I’ll introduce data analysis and the four types of questions it can help answer. This can be used as a guide to correctly identify analysis questions. In the following articles, I will propose a strategy for answering each type of question and a methodology for selecting the right techniques. I hope you find this guide helpful — let me know in the comments!
So, what is data analytics and what does it seek to achieve? In general, analysis is a process of understanding some complex information by breaking it down into smaller, simpler pieces and understanding those pieces first. This process is used to help solve problems or answer questions. As in the general case, data analysis is a process of understanding something about a complex topic data trying to figure out more manageable information about it.
Analysts can apply a range of techniques to perform data analysis. For example, if we…