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Real-time Data vs. Historical Data: It’s Important to Look at Both

image of data analysis

Data is great, isn’t it? It allows us to track every part of our business. Is a certain production line running slow? Are sales down for the week? Are we reaching our projected sales number for the day? With so much data, it can be both time consuming and overwhelming. But I believe more than that, it can be something to hide behind. This can happen in one of two ways: You either live in the now data and don’t analyze the past; or you’re always so busy crunching last month’s numbers that you don’t see the data for today. There are both benefits and downfalls to both methods of tracking, which is why you should do a mixture of both.

If sales are down a certain percent today, you’ll want to be tracking that in real time. But, before you start panicking, look at the historical data to see if this dip is a natural progression in your sales or if it is an anomaly. Isolated events can occur, but often times you may see a clue in your data. If you have the historical data already analyzed, you’ll be able to easily detect how sales should react in the future. By doing both, you will be able to tell how to react.

If you look at your historical data and see that there is not a pattern occurring, it’s important that you take note of everything you’ve changed, and once you can isolate where the issue is coming from, that you document it with your historical data. Therefore, if a problem occurs again in the future, you can go back and perform the same tests to determine if it is the same issue. If it is, you can then go through the documented steps to remedy the issue; if it isn’t the same issue, then you will need to begin testing for what it may be. The key is documentation: It will help to understand the data. Numbers can only tell so much of a story—the work you do to decipher the numbers tell the rest of it.

The more accurately you can track your data, the more you can do with real time and historical data. By taking the time to analyze the past when tracking the future, you can use data to your advantage.

If you’re struggling with viewing and making sense of your data, contact ArcherPoint.