Get Intimate With Your Data

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it’s probably time we approach the topic of intimacy. No, not that intimacy. Data intimacy.

Recently, we were working on a project to determine the feasibility of developing a data platform for our client. The first pass through the data involved some data clouds and trend spotting across topical hierarchies. The outlook was not good. Spotty data and inconsistent time stamps made time series analysis difficult, and data quality issues made market share projections unreliable. But then we did something we recommend you try as well. We got intimate with our data.

To complement our use of R and Tableau, we went a little old school. We parsed the unstructured data and developed sentence structures with the data to see if a narrative told a valuable story for our client. If charts and data visualizations weren’t going to move the needle, perhaps a text style narrative approach could work.


Benefits of analyzing garbage data

This parsing involved combining data fields, replacing variables like “client” with “we”, and linking company and product name pairs. The result was a clunky collection of paragraphs that we could group, scan, and edit quickly.

Then we did the unthinkable intimate thing. We printed all these reports out and read each one. It required coffee and a few iterations, but by getting intimate with the data we built a better dictionary to further clean the source data, and we discovered the true value in the data.

We recently shared our results with our client and they were thrilled. What appeared to be a dead end was now three different product opportunities for three different types of end users.

Intimacy with your data can mean lots of things – printing data columns in report format is just one of our many tricks. At TCB Analytics, we know that by getting intimate with our data, we help clients discover and unlock new revenue opportunities.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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