Don’t Forget the Simple Machines of Data Analytics

If you were trying to move a large rock in your back yard, would you use a lever or a UAV (drone) with heavy lift capacity?  While the UAV would be way cooler, a simple lever would do the trick.  The rapidly increasing capabilities in analytics are spawning new tools and techniques  of increased sophistication.  Despite this array of powerful tools, it is important to remember that sometimes, simpler is better.  

Of course, don't discount blowing the rock up.
Of course, don’t discount blowing the rock up.

To infuse data driven decision making into the problems and opportunities  facing a business, the more tried and true analytical tools and techniques are usually sufficient.  A close cousin of analysis paralysis (inability to make a decision) is experimentation proliferation (inability to stop expanding the analysis).  Just because it is now possible to do some new types of analytics, it does not mean you should do them.  

Time, money and resources are always limited.  The application of these elements needs to be appropriate to the value expected to come from the analytical work.  By conserving your resources it will:

  • Quickly produce value for your organization because an appropriate amount of resources are used
  • Give you the capacity to take on larger, more complex (cooler), analytical projects

Like moving a rock in your back yard, a lever will often do.

Not that I would refuse a UAV if someone gave one to me.

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