Building a Big-Picture Business Plan with Qualitative Data Analysis


Data is becoming increasingly important to running a business. This becomes more apparent as companies continue integrating data into their operations. Organizations that successfully synthesize qualitative data analysis from raw inputs will be able to better plan for the world of tomorrow. This is how companies can build a big-picture business plan with qualitative data analysis.

What Is Qualitative Data Analysis?

Not all business owners are familiar with the term ‘qualitative data analysis,’ and that’s okay. Essentially, this term describes what you can actually derive from quantitative, or numerical, data. Think of it this way: A huge group of numbers doesn’t really mean much to your company. Yes, everyone these days is talking about the importance of data. But are billions of data points really worth anything to you without any sort of interpretation? Probably not. This is why qualitative data analysis is so important. It puts that data into a form that can be understood and used by regular people.

Find Where Your Company Needs Improvement

When you move your data into tables and graphs, you will likely start to notice the emergence of some trends. For better or for worse, these trends are going to define the trajectory of your business. For example, a shipping and logistics company will take a keen interest in its fuel usage data. If, upon reviewing this information, it becomes clear that there are certain areas in need of improvement, those can be addressed by defining an action plan. It’s better to catch an issue early than to let it fester—losing you time and capital in the process. Implementing systemic changes can be difficult; but the price of avoiding them is often failure.

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Use a Search-Based Data Analysis Tool

Search-based data analysis tools are making it easier than ever for organizations to gain insights from their data. This type of program works like Google, in that it allows users to simply type in search queries and immediately get results. It has never been easier for companies to synthesize qualitative data analysis than it is now with search-based tools. This kind of technology is set to be the future of data because it provides a few distinct benefits to users. First, the sheer speed of this process makes decision-making faster and less convoluted than in the past. With this technology, companies don’t have to wait weeks or months to get results from a data team. They can just get the answers they need when they need them. It also allows greater accessibility to key data from within the company. In a traditional setup, someone in marketing or HR would have a hard time getting their hands on relevant big-picture data. It simply wouldn’t be worth the trouble for them to go through the hassle of filing a request with the analytics team, waiting, and then having to go through often highly technical documents. With a search-based qualitative data analysis tool, lay people can conduct their own data inquiries. This will help businesses get insights that otherwise never would have seen the light of day.

Be Ready to Admit You’re Wrong

Oftentimes, what you get at the end of putting together qualitative data analysis is not what you were expecting, or hoping for, from the beginning. This can be extremely discouraging as a business owner, especially if the results are negative. However, the worst thing to do in this situation is ignore the data. Reality isn’t going to change just because you don’t like it. It can be altered, though, if you radically and effectively shift your business to better reflect industry needs. You can only plan for the big picture if you’re willing to honestly look at it.

Retail is one of the best examples of this phenomenon. Many traditional retailers are going out of business because they refused to acknowledge the data showing how people are moving to different forms of shopping. Those that are adapting to the tune of qualitative data analysis are seeing the best results.

It can be difficult to come up with a big-picture plan for your business. Now more than ever, it’s hard to say where the world will be in five, 10, or 20 years. Businesses will be better off in the long run if they implement a strategy that uses qualitative data analysis.

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