An Insight For Students Of Business

The University of Denver (DU) Daniels College of Business recently created a video series of local professionals showcasing the value of technical skills for business students. Also for DU to promote their Business Analyst program to new students. Xentity’s very own Margaret Rose-Spyker was among these local professionals. In Margaret’s interview, DU wanted to understand how data analytics can benefit businesses and the relationships of and between data.

Margaret began by mentioning business owners can enhance their use of data by seeing resources on data.colorado.gov. They can leverage this data against their own data by documenting patterns of data in their daily activities. For example, a different data pattern can be used dependent on whether the data show trends, demonstrates cyclic behavior, or seasonal events.  Public data can also help businesses in many ways and owners should consider exploring and utilizing free data resources available from the state. This blog will examine and summarize Margaret’s major points from this interview: describing relationships for data, the rational man concept, and how to maximize data.

Relationships For Data

Margaret notes three different ways you can describe relationships for data: 1) Direct relationships, 2) How datasets can be similar to each other, and 3) The “human thing.” Analyzing and understanding these three relationships can help benefit businesses. Particularly, when understanding direct relationships between data, like with tabular data and GIS and how they are used to represent the world. It is important for any business that wants to use data to know how to join one table to another through its related field.

Prospective business owners need to understand how datasets can be similar but not necessarily in a direct relationship, where data is connected in an all-encompassing manner. This idea of similarities and direct relationships also brings us to the concept of correlation. One thing Margaret wanted to make sure was understood, was that correlation was never causation. Instead, she advised for students to look for correlations that help with discovery. For a simple example, if there is a correlation between junk food sales and a rise in obesity, interested parties can use this correlation to make the discovery of whether there is a direct causation.

Finally, it is important for students to understand that the relationship between data is ultimately a human thing. We as data analysts are measuring humans, and we are also humans who are storing data. And how all of this data comes together results from how we communicate. Speaking of humans, let’s take a moment to examine an idea called the rational man concept.

Rational Man Concept

So what is the rational man concept? It’s the foundation of every economic model, and it’s pretty basic. Founded on the predicate of data being available, the rational man concept states that every human being makes sound decisions and acts accordingly. This ties into the idea that we desire access to data of all kinds, even private data. So, companies should focus on public data as a way to improve their businesses.

It ties into a question that Xentity likes to ask other businesses. They ask: “are you using data,” and they say “we’re not.” Here’s the thing, people typically observe and then make decisions. That itself is data. So, even if you are not using spreadsheets, if you are making observations, you are still using data. Data comes in many forms. So now that we know data ties into the next question: How to maximize data?

How To Maximize Data

For starters, spend time to look for data. In order to maximize data, you actually have to go to the effort to find it. Thankfully, in this time of open data, this has never been easier. After you look for the data and then find it, give it a chance to help you. Margaret advises to let you life and business be something of an experiment. So, experiment. Constantly seek out types of data and think of ways that data can help your business.

But remember that data is worth being used. Businesses can add to their own value through the use of public data. And in a time where public data is a resource freely available, business owners should seek it out to find ways it can help them as a business. Traffic and travel apps are arguably one of the better examples. In order to provide their service, they need publicly available data to be provided to app users (current traffic, current maps of cities, landmarks, etc.). And these app developers are able to find success because of their use of publicly available data.