We are living in the world of ever-increasing data and a key challenge for businesses today is to extract good value from it. In other words, how to draw valuable insights from this data to make good and fast decisions  (Read: https://www.targit.com/en/blog/2015/02/data-visualization-scatter-chart)

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With all the technological advancement today, a lot of data are readily available which allows insights to be provided timely. But what makes insights accurate?

Currently, there are variations on the definitions of ‘insights’ and how it’s being used interchangeably with similar words like analytics, data and information.  Let’s assume that ‘insights’ is the interpretation of the various trends and patterns discovered in the data for this article

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With this assumption, ‘accurate’ insights are derived from ‘accurate’ interpretation of ‘accurate’ data. Let’s analyse the two factors now.

Accurate data – Its NOT only a numbers game

With so much emphasis on M2M communication and IoT, the plethora of structured data being generated appears to be more than enough for drawing good insights. However, without any qualitative data points, this would be an incomplete analysis leading to inaccurate insights. As most researchers and statisticians would agree, a complete analysis is one with both quantitative and qualitative analysis, and definitely, for good reason.

We all know that qualitative analysis provides answers to the all-important ‘why’ questions which quantitative analysis cannot provide. Particularly in scenarios where humans get involved, subjective inputs like opinions, thought processes, sentiments, verbatim comments, all hold great value. Furthermore, with businesses increasingly focusing on Customer Experience Management, such unstructured data points become even more valuable. Yet often we end up ignoring the qualitative angle, which renders our data set incomplete and in turn, the insights inaccurate.

Accurate interpretation – the human element

Interpretations tend to be most accurate when they come from credible sources. What drives credibility is depth of knowledge gained through experience and demonstrated success (Read https://hbr.org/2012/09/metrics-are-easy-insights-are-hard). It appears then that the more experienced the source is, the more credible their interpretations are – and hence, the more accurate. For example, we tend to value comments and insights from investors like Warren Buffet on stock market because of their successful track record (Read https://www.telegraph.co.uk/investing/isas/copycat-investing-how-to-invest-like-warren-buffett-and-other-gu/)

The ability to interpret trends and patterns has now become a critically sought-after skill. Vendors and professional firms like IBM and Capgemeni respectively, are offering insights-as-a-service as a formal offering to help businesses extract maximum value from their data (Read https://www.forbes.com/sites/ibm/2015/09/10/the-next-frontier-in-analytics-insight-as-a-service/#418869447beb)

Insights arguably hold great value for today’s business results. It fully merits investment of time, effort and cost necessary to make accurate insights available, for good decision-making and great business results. The way to ensure accurate insights is by a) ensuring completeness of data sets with both Quantitative and Qualitative data b) Relying on credible sources to provide the insights.

The opinions expressed by the writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Fuji Xerox Smart Work Innovation, or the management. Fuji Xerox Smart Work Innovation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writers.