For all of the advances in data science and business intelligence, most analytics software tools deliver findings in the form of a dashboard. An eye-catching array of colorful charts and supposedly “intuitive” graphs that show different views of your data … but then what?

Last week we spoke to an exasperated sales manager who said that his organization was inundated with charts and lamented, “We have more charts and graphs than I know what to do with or even where to begin. I want the analysis to tell me what I need to do. Isn’t that the objective of data analysis?”

And that’s exactly right. The true purpose of data analytics isn’t to produce another pretty chart or a more whiz-bang dashboard. It’s the ability to quickly convert the data into specific, recommended actions.

I want the analysis to tell me what I need to do. Isn’t that the objective of data analysis?

Here is a simple but powerful example of creating recommended actions from data:

  1. Your orders data is rich with insight into how your customers buy your products. Analytics on this data can identify highly relevant and targeted opportunities to cross-sell and upsell to your customers.
  2. These product recommendations are delivered directly through your CRM system as actions assigned for your sales people.
  3. These assigned actions become opportunities in your CRM system and new tasks for the sales person: “Call this customer and recommend product Y. Tell them that you are making the recommendation because customers who have X also need product Y, and you noticed they don’t have Y.”

Converting data into action analytics delivers a far more meaningful and measurable value to a company. This is the next evolution in data analytics, moving beyond dashboards to delivering recommended actions right to your CRM.