I recently purchased a new car and the process clearly took longer than it needed to.  I am not a person that is typically prone to long-drawn out decisions, so I began wondering why this one decision took so much longer than previous car purchasing decisions.

I reflected upon one of my earlier car purchases (back in 1997) as a comparison.  When I purchased this car, the process was fairly straight forward.  I drove to a few local dealerships and browsed the showroom until I saw something in my price range that caught my eye.  Over the course of several weeks, I test drove several cars and talked with family/friends/co-workers to see if anyone had any input on the reliability of the vehicles.  Quickly, I narrowed it down to one vehicle. I didn’t lose any sleep thinking about the decision.  I just went with my “gut feel” and stayed within my budget.   I was very happy with my purchase and kept the car for 140,000 miles.

With the most recent car purchase, the process seemed to take on a life of its own.  I had so much information available to me that I spent months researching cars using every automobile search engine and consumer report that I could find.  I often used my SmartPhone to identify nearby car dealerships just so I could do “drive-bys” and look at cars.  Each car I researched had so much positive and negative input available that it became overwhelming as to what was the “right choice”.  I have to admit that I had so much information coming at me that I started dreaming of cars at night and often awakened in the morning with cars as the first thought on my mind.  I had clearly found myself with information overload and was in “analysis paralysis”.

I’ve seen this happen in business too. There is so much data and information available at every turn that it is hard for Business Leaders to weed through what is truly relevant and what is just “noise” getting in the way of making the decisions needed to move the business forward.

If we want to keep our business from getting stuck in “analysis paralysis” – we need to identify what information is truly necessary for us to achieve our business goals and implement the correct tools to visually present this data in a way that facilitates our decisions and doesn’t hinder them.  The challenge is determining what data is meaningful to the decisions that need to be made.

To have effective Business Analytics, the business goals must be clear. If the data you are looking at doesn’t help you make decisions to achieve these goals, then this data may be just “noise”.  How much data do you look at each day that really isn’t helping you achieve your goals?

If your data is keeping you up at night, maybe you have too much of it.


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