From data to insight

From data to insight

Clients don’t need data, they need information.

Data is a buzzword at the moment; “Big data”, “Bad data”, “GDPR”, “data breaches” are all terms much in the news. And a lot of event technology suppliers (us included) keep telling their clients they ought to do more with the data generated at their events. But should we still be talking about data, or should we be talking about something else completely?

Data without context can be misleading.

Data is a raw basic element. It has no real value unless you apply context to it. For example let’s say 84% of surveys from a particular event gave it a 5-star rating. Is that a good result? In isolation you would be right to think it might well be. The organisers might happily go home thinking the event had been a great success.

Data + Context = Information

But what if we start applying some context? What if it turns out only 50% of the attendees answered in comparison to 70% last year? What if last year 90% gave a 5-star rating? So not only did the number of respondents drop by 20% but also the 5-star rating dropped significantly too. Suddenly, that 84% figure doesn’t look so great. By applying context to the data, we have transformed it into INFORMATION. In short, we have made it useful.

So when we talk to clients about the results from their events we tell them it might not be obvious how to interpret the raw data. We try to apply some context around it to see if the information it reveals is worthy of exploring further. We also try to tell clients they need to look at the data with an open mind. They shouldn’t necessarily look at the results with specific questions they want answered. They should look at it to see what information it reveals and therefore what questions it actually answers.

Information + Experience = Insight

The last stage is to use your experience, event wisdom if you like, to draw worthwhile conclusions from the information, to find those insights that are going to make a difference. This is where you can not only look to improve how you run similar events in the future, but also how you can maximise financial return for the client.

In summary, data is just the starting point and we should all be careful about jumping to conclusions. The good news is that we still need a healthy amount of human experience and wisdom to turn data into insights. Your event technology might be able to give you clues and pointers, but it can’t be expected to give insightful answers without some input from a savvy event organiser.

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From data to insight