Though the term may be overused and perhaps rarely understood, “actionable insight” is a necessary tool for data-driven success. Any business looking to unearth the power of data to aid in decision-making should think about it with regards to actionable intelligence.
First, What is an Insight?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, insight means the ability to see and understand the truth about people or situations. In terms of digital analytics, actionable insight can be described as the ability to respond to data or information in a way to help you improve your organisation’s performance through digital ingenuity.
Easier said than done, only a small proportion of businesses have been successful in figuring out how to integrate data and its analysis to action.
The most commonly left-out piece to stop this magic from working is actionable intelligence. It is important to mention here that data, information, and insights are not the same things. Data needs to be structured and processed into information. There is no insight without data and not all insights are actionable.
What Makes It an Actionable Insight?
An insight is actionable when it answers a question and in doing so provides “insight” on how to take action or move forward.
Data can be structured or unstructured and not all data is capable of producing insights. Big data provides us with a great deal of data, but there is a limitation to how many insights we can squeeze out of that data.
Qualities of an Actionable Insight & How to Spot Them
You need the right elements to sieve out the good insights. But, before looking for insights it is crucial to address your business goals and objectives. Not just that, it is also important to be aware of the KPIs that are assigned to achieve these goals as the right insights will impact them.
Hence, to make the best out of the data you have it’s necessary to have the right system to gather, process, and deliver data. That simply means tapping into the right data at the right time to generate the right and clear picture for everyone to analyse and derive inferences.
This lays the foundation for creating truly actionable insights. Furthermore, actionable insights must also have the following characteristics:
The information has to be relevant in order to map it to your strategic objectives. If your information is telling something out of line with your business objectives or controls it becomes impossible to squeeze actionable insights from it.
Similarly, if the insights aren’t actionable, it means it is time for you to look back at your data collection methodology and ensure you tap into the right factors and drivers.
Additionally, subjectivity is of the utmost importance when it comes to adding relevance to your insights. Subjectivity means delivering the insights, under the right setting and at the right time to the right users. Failing to direct the insights to the right person means refraining the insights from getting the right and timely attention and this results in them losing their relevance.
The setting of sharing insights is also crucial. If insights get stuck in technical complexities and/or get delivered in devices that aren’t frequently accessed then it hinders the stakeholders from putting these insights into action.
Hence, it is crucial for the information to arrive in real-time and be accessible to all relevant users to facilitate insights more easily and quickly.
Data without framework and context is meaningless. It is always important to put data into context to make your insights actionable. The context is mostly set by the questions that make you look for insights in the first place and the intended users of these insights.
The task of creating relevant insights often starts with comparing your data and enriching it. Let’s look at some of the points below to help you add relevance to your insights:
- Compare and map your audience and segments
- Compare your data to your business goals
- Compare your data points with your competition
- Allocate number to your findings (like an increase in the qualified leads by X% will lead to increased revenue by Y%)
- Enhance the quality of your research with qualitative data. Open-ended questions on surveys are an excellent way to qualitative data.
These and many other business-specific points help your audience to grasp the information you want to convey which in turn helps to make your insights actionable.
Only specific and accurate insight is useful. In some contexts, teams look at some of the insights based on inaccurate or incomplete information and predispose them to a severe outcome. Acting on the basis of an insight that is incomplete or fails to appropriately explain the why of a particular occurrence, such an insight is not actionable.
Aligning insights with your business goals enhances the chances of them becoming actionable insights. Alignment not just makes things simpler but also adds a sense of urgency to the insights to motivate actions.
When you know your business goals, you also know what KPIs are assigned to these business goals. Therefore, the insights you are trying to produce must influence these KPIs and/or metrics to be termed actionable.
Furthermore, explaining insights with clear communication and the right data visualisation goes a long way towards creating action. Amidst the noise of data, clarity, and structure helps the data to stand out and be visible. Hence, just collecting data is simply not enough. The richer and more accurate your data is, the higher will be the value of your insights.
In today’s competitive scenario, actionable insight isn’t just a buzzword, it has the potential to overhaul your decision-making process. We at Bolt strongly believe that actionable insight is not just a peek into your past, but a means to assess what your customers like today and will like in the future. These actionable insights help you to drive digital initiatives to accurately determine your ROI.
Want to know more on how to leverage your data to generate actionable insights for your business? Feel free to reach out to us at Bolt.