Posted by tac_admin, March 11, 2015

Data Modeling: How to Turn Information into Action

Chart with stack of coinsWhen it comes to data modeling in business analysis, numbers and figures and charts don’t mean much if you don’t know how to turn information into foundation-shifting solutions.

How do you know which information is relevant, and which parts of the data model serve as a distraction?

First, it’s paramount to ascertain the exact definition of data modeling. I tend to agree with the BABOK Guide’s description:

“The purpose of a data model is to describe the concepts relevant to a domain, the relationship between those concepts, and information associated with them.”

Relevance and relationships—these two factors serve as the so-called nuts and bolts of both data modeling and data analysis. But there’s another step: you have to figure out what to do with all this information.

Knowledge is power, so they say. That’s a very true statement, but there exists a major caveat to that important assertion. Some information is relevant, and bears weight on the overall success of your various stakeholders. Other data doesn’t factor into the equation at all.

And the last thing a business analyst needs is a distraction.

The question is: how do you know the difference between vital data and distracting information?

I’ve developed a series of questions you can ask yourself, so that you will know how to use the data you collect in a pertinent way.

  1. What kind of data would correlate with the actual problem?

When you begin the data mining process, it’s best to know exactly what you’re looking for. If financial troubles are the issue, then it’s best to look at customer service information, technological systems, and employee protocols that may reveal the cause of the issue.

  1. How does this information affect overall company success?

As a business analyst, it’s up to you to get an aerial view of the entire company. While the solution may be found in a small operational element, it remains paramount to look at the so-called big picture.

  1. Why does this data even exist?

When you answer this question, you know whether or not the information is important. There is always a stimulus that produces data, but that reason might not bear any weight on the work you must complete.

  1. What impact on company relationships does this information affect?

Company relationships involve employees, customers, stakeholders, investors, and a slew of others. Their relationships and shared goals provide you with insight on why the problem exists in the first place. As you figure out your direction in terms of data, think about the interpersonal impact the information has on all your stakeholders.

  1. How do I turn this information into action?

Or should you even do anything with the data at all? You can’t be successful in a project without information, but when you figure out what you can do with it, you’ll provide a lasting solution that wholly improves the bottom line.

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