If your company is all about data analysis or statistics, you’ll need to make sure that you use just the right tools to analyze and share your information to stakeholders. Many companies have already figured out that being able to present information in a clear, efficient and visual way is essential to supporting the decision making process for all stakeholders. Big Data and being able to understand it, analyze it and use it is becoming more and more important for companies all over the world. Not everyone is prepared and equipped with the necessary knowledge to do so, but that’s where having just the right tools comes in handy. It’s not feasible for everyone to go back to school and study up on advanced mathematics, business classes, engineering and computer science, so knowing just enough about the most important skills that will allow you to understand big data and then find and implement a good tool, or set of tools, to help you with the rest will be enough. It is extremely powerful to be able to use analytical tools to help your company make the best possible decisions, and the best part is that they are open source and free. Indicators and statistics can drive the market and you can even read up on the main objectives of understanding key performance indicators on the David Kiger blog.
Nowadays, preparing yourself to face the importance of big data in the business world will be essential and you can do so by taking some online courses that can get you on the right track. Data science may very well be a career path you want to take, or maybe just some professional development that will help you grow within your current company. You can get started with Big Data courses on Udemy like Hadoop Starter Kit, Introduction to Analytics and the Language of SAS, or Understanding Data Quality and Reference Data Management. All of these courses are free and are for people who are just starting to get into the Big Data world, all the way to experts.
On edX you can also find courses like Introduction to Apache Spark, but these courses are not ongoing, so you’ll need to wait for the enrollment dates. There are many different types of courses, paid and free, that you can look up both on edX and Udemy that can help you understand more in depth big data and even use some of the tools that will be mentioned in our list.
When talking about tools that can help you present clear and visual data, every day new tools and apps are found in the market, but here the list will include some of the most popular to date. The first thing you should do when choosing the right tool for your company is to analyze what your objective with the data is. The software should, in all cases, be able to select the right pool of participants and groups to analyze, since not all of the information is adequate due to missing or bad data. It should also allow you to process data from before the actual sample, to filter characteristics that can affect or give more meaning to the collected data. Descriptive statistics are a must when computing the data, allowing to keep in mind the central tendency and the dispersion. Another key feature of software that you plan on getting for your company should be the feature of running statistical tests and plotting data. In the rush to find the latest tools, don’t forget that Excel continues being an excellent tool for visualization and analysis of data. The team that will be taking on the challenge of analyzing the organization’s data should start by learning advanced Excel. Moving on to more specific tools you can look into SPSS from IBM, which has tons of features for parametric and nonparametric analysis, descriptive statistics, analysis software, among other features that can help your organization to manage data efficiently. Matlab is another software that has become quite popular among those who have programming skills. You can clean up your data before the data collection process, and adapt information depending on where it’s going to be published or posted. R Foundation for Statistical Computing is similar to Matlab, but are considered to have richer libraries in their database. At the end of the day, almost all of these tools can and will help you achieve your goal, but it will depend on the profile of the person who is going to be running it and their data analysis, computing and programming knowledge and skills. It will be important to decide on the tool that will help your organization, depending on the personnel and their skill set.
* Featured Image courtesy of Ken Teegardin at Flickr.com