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Is Data Boring?

Mar 9, 2017

To many, data can seem dull at first glance, just a series of ones and zeros that don’t seem to be worth paying much attention to. However, when you use the right tools and take on the right perspective, data reveals itself to be a fascinating and rich way of examining and changing aspects of the world around us.

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Here are the top five benefits that we receive from using data to color and enhance our worldview:

  1. There are countless different ways to present data: Data can be communicated through pie charts, bar graphs, scatter plots, tables, maps, infographics. Whatever your aesthetic or communicative preferences, there is a way to present data that will work for you and will be well-received by your intended audience. Data can be presented in creative and artistic ways, too.
  2. It helps us make unbiased decisions: It’s well-established that data derived from advanced analytics services is key for most businesses’ decision-making processes, strategies, and budgeting. Data also plays a role in helping individual people make choices: for example, students torn between two universities can use data about things like the employment rates of each school’s graduates, average student debt, and overall student satisfaction in order to decide which school will be the best fit for them. Data is great to base decisions off of because it is neutral. It doesn’t have an agenda, and it just presents the facts.
  3. It tells us about the past and the future: Data allows us to examine historical patterns and events, and compare the past to our lives in the present. It also gives us powerful fortune-telling skills, letting us see into the years ahead—well, sort of. While big data obviously won’t give us magical powers, we can use it to make predictions about the future based on past and current trends. Using data lets us step out of our own timeline for a moment to imagine and prepare for what’s coming up for our world, and also lets us reflect on what has happened and where we have come This is helpful for businesses to predict sales and potential challenges. For government agencies, environmental groups, and similar organizations, this is important for predicting potentially turbulent times—financial recessions, for example, can be predicted and somewhat prepared for using data.
  4. There’s diversity in the data available: There is a huge amount of data available on a similarly huge amount of subjects. There are many different types of data being collected every day—from the total amount of steps taken by all of Fitbit’s users in a year to the number of Big Macs eaten in Indonesia in a month, there is a wide and diverse amount of information and big data out there that can be used to improve businesses processes, form actionable insights, and provide information and facts on just about anything.
  5. It’s an essential part of our society and our lives: In this day and age, data has been integrated into so many different aspects of our world that it is hard to imagine how we could possibly fare without it: for healthcare institutions, data and advanced analytics services can prove to be lifesaving and can increase the quality of care and treatment for patients; businesses benefit from data-based business intelligence services and use them to improve their chances for sustainability and long-term business and financial success, and governments can use and collect public data to improve the lives of their citizens and allow transparency about how their countries are faring. Data is used to improve our businesses, our finances, our infrastructure, and our lives.

Data is more than just a series of numbers on a page—it’s essential to how our world currently runs and how we can fare in the future. As long as we have the right tools and the right mindset, data on all different topics and of all different types can be informative, transformative, and fascinating.

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