To “optimize” is to make the best or most effective use of a situation, opportunity, or resource.
But, when it comes to creating reports with our data, how can we be effective? What exactly makes the data better? What are we trying to make better? The meaning of optimization varies depending on the result you’re looking for.
For the purposes of this article, we have broken down some ways to optimize the way you view reports and your data:
- You don’t want to have too much data: If you’re working with a huge amount of data, the chances are that it contains irrelevant or unnecessary data, which can really skew your stats and graphics. So when you’re making your reports, you want to make sure that you clean up your data by watching the way you input your data and by removing duplicates.
- Smart designs and visualizations: When putting together visuals to showcase your data, you’ll want to leave white space between the visuals. This makes it easier for the audience to differentiate the metric and also keeps your visuals looking clean. You can also choose brighter colors for bars or parts that you want to highlight. Make your graphics work for you! A few visual and design changes can really make your data pop and help you understand the information better.
- View your data holistically and gradually: When you look at your data as a whole, you get a general understanding of the behavior of your company. Then you can get into the nitty-gritty-ness of the data to learn the behavior of your employees. By drilling into the data, you can validate certain aspects of the data or question it. You can write down the existing patterns and make sure that the analysis that you find is valid, accurate, or reliable. The next step would be to use the data and your analysis to make business decisions and see how your business flourishes once you have reliable data.
- Have a purpose: The data you’re looking at should mean something. Is it showing your sales output? Your production? Your staffing or HR metrics? Everything shown in that one report should relate and provide you with reliable and relevant data that relates to your purpose. What are you trying to learn from the report? What information are you trying to get out of it? Have a purpose and tailor your visuals and data to it so that it can help with achieving the most optimal results.