To maximize your agency data and build real business intelligence solutions, you need to understand these 3 dichotomies the data.

You are watching: Difference between internal and external data

By Dan Rundle

I’m around to share two principles that can transform your business intelligence (BI).

1. Not all data is the same.

2. Just how you manage data matters.

Not convinced? hear me out…

First, let’s unpack the idea that not all data is the same.

3 Data Dichotomies

“When collecting and assessing business intelligence data, experts most often focus on your organization’s interior data (70%), company systems data (59%), and structured data (58%).” (Source: The Silicon Review)

1. Internal vs. External Data

Internal data is information produced from in ~ the business, covering locations such together operations, maintenance, personnel, and finance. External data comes from the market, including customers and competitors. That things prefer statistics native surveys, questionnaires, research, and also customer feedback.

Research has shown that business experts consider data generated internally come be much more valuable. According to one survey, “About 65% of respondents rank inner data as much more important 보다 data collected outside the company.”

Both kinds of data are helpful. Inner data help you run your business and optimize her operations. Exterior data helps you far better understand her customer base and also the vain landscape. You need a clear check out of both to have actually truly insightful company intelligence.

2. Structured vs. Unstructured Data

Structured data is considered much more traditionally together BI, because it’s quantifiable. It’s simpler to placed in a database, search, and also analyze. Conversely, unstructured data is considered a newer type of data. It’s no pre-defined and is frequently text-heavy information, such as that from society networks or customer comments.

As defined by Dean Abbott, Co-founder and Chief Data Scientist of SmarterHQ, “Newer varieties of data are more complicated to use since that data isn’t in a user-friendly form. Every the old-school data is in a structured form, therefore you have the right to put that in the database, apply algorithms, and get value from it lot quicker.”

Too often, business leaders accustomed come data snapshots default to structured data to make decisions. This deserve to be shortsighted. A solid BI plan accounts for unstructured data to leverage the insight uncovered there.

Here’s an example from ours business. Every year, we execute an account testimonial with our client to see how the software application we have developed for castle is performing. We use structured data come make sure things space working best technically, and also then questioning a lot of questions to collect unstructured data about how the systems is working for business. We use both types of data in conjunction through our clients to identify obstacles to resolve and avenues to embrace. The strategy because that our clients going front is far more valuable because it is developed on both structured and unstructured data.

3. Historical vs. Real-time Data

It’s a actual BI dilemma: carry out you look in ~ the present at the cost of the past, or carry out you invest so much time on last month’s numbers the you don’t watch the data for today?

The answer? execute a mixture of both. Companies often spend far-ranging time using historic data to identify and also predict trends. However without real-time data to to compare it to, the worth of that historical data is limited.

A blog write-up from ArcherPoint Retail offers a great practical instance of the relationship between historical and real-time data…

“If sales are down a details percent today, you’ll want to it is in tracking that in genuine time. But, before you begin panicking, look at the historic data to check out if this emboldened is a organic progression in your sales or if the is an anomaly. Isolated occasions can occur, yet often time you may see a proviso in her data. If you have the historic data already analyzed, you’ll be able to easily detect just how sales should react in the future.”

Despite the worth of real-time data analytics, a 2015 write-up reported that a research of 235 us based firms found that only 25% space embarking on real-time predictive modeling, and another 47% are proactively exploring the opportunity. The remaining 28% still sit undecided on how to proceed.

Real-time data can assist you do a pivot once a trouble or chance comes up. But if you react to every blip on the radar, your organization will never have actually long-term success. You must balance both type of data to do intelligent decisions.


Now, let’s revolve the page to explore how controlling data matters.

3 keys to controlling Data Well

“BI and analytics requires an extensive knowledge and also understanding of how strategic and also other business decisions room made, and also how this can be improved to assistance growth and value creation in a company.

Different solutions and also data tactics support different decision structures. Strategy analytics/BI solutions can be extremely empowering because that employees, and create value by informing decision make if it fits the structure. It can be equally together dangerous if over there is a misfit between agency strategy and also data strategy.” (Source: Professor Derrick McIver via Blue Granite)

1. Start at the end

When deciding just how to organize her data, it’s vital to an initial clarify the objective of BI for her company. Those its purpose? What carry out you want it to achieve? The last thing you desire to perform is produce a structure that doesn’t provide you the intelligence you need. Begin with the end in mind and work ago from there to structure your data through the wanted results in mind.

2. Customization boosts power

BI dashboards space data visualization tools that consolidate and display an essential performance indicators and other metrics in a solitary screen. Typically, the dashboard summarizes data in ~ a high level for this reason it can be handle at a glance, while supplying the choice for you to drill under to depths levels.

Yet, no all departments in your agency need to watch the very same information, therefore it’s vital to organize her data in a method that enables for customization. “Self-service dashboards,” as they are called, permit users to choose their very own KPIs, mix structured and unstructured info themselves, and also see various visualization options. Not just does this boost the strength of the data itself, but it additionally takes some of the press away from it departments—which have traditionally been intended to create certain reports on request.

However, there room some concerns to self-service dashboards – which leader you to my critical point…

3. Put plans in place

One the the most noticeable concerns with self-service dashboards is data quality. If users pull the not correct data, they’re going to gain the not correct result. And also if they’re using the wrong result to make business decisions, it is a problem. Likewise, you have to be confident the the data resources you’re working with space correct and complete, and that data that is proprietary and/or personal remains secured.

These problems are why data governance is therefore important. Data governance is a set of policies and procedures that protects the verity of your business’s information. It assigns accountability come ensure data remains secure, accurate and also usable.

Equally necessary is training your employees in how to use BI safely and also effectively, come ensure… * They feeling comfortable utilizing a dashboard—because if they don’t, they likely won’t. * lock pull precise data, in the correct way, to achieve specific result. * castle follow rules designed to store your data secure internally and also externally.

One way to settle these troubles is by structure dashboards based upon user workflow and also real-world feedback. This will certainly ensure the each employee gets the data that or she needs in a method that actually fits the occupational they do. Often, once is beginning to construct a dashboard for a client, we will spend hrs shadowing employees and taking note so we deserve to architect a solution that will actually job-related in our client’s service on a day-to-day business.

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BI can be among your company’s greatest assets. But setup up a BI device is an investment—and just one that’s when you structure and manage the in a way that enables you to maximize the worth of her data. As soon as you know the types of data and data dichotomies, friend can embrace the tricks to managing data well.