It is crucial to ask the right questions and/or understand the problem, prior to beginning data analysis. Below is a list of 20 questions you need to ask before delving into analysis:
- Who is the audience that will use the results from the analysis? (board members, sales people, customers, employees, etc)
- How will the results be used? (make business decision, invest in product category, work with a vendor, identify risks, etc)
- What questions will the audience have about our analysis? (ability to filter on key segments, look at data across time to identify trends, drill-down into details, etc)
- How should the questions be prioritized to derive the most value?
- Identify key stakeholders and get their input on interesting questions
- Who should be able to access the information? think about confidentiality/ security concerns
- Who will develop and maintain the report?
- What information will be on each report?
- What reports currently exist in another format? What changes might be made to existing reports?
- What ETLs or stored procedures need to be developed, if any?
- What database enhancements are required to meet reporting requirements?
- When will each report be delivered?
- What is the frequency of updates required for the data? to ensure currency
- Which data sources are available to work with?
- Do I have the required permissions or credentials to access the data necessary for analysis?
- What is size of each data set and how much data will I need to get from each one?
- How familiar am I with the underlying tables and schema in each database? Do I need to work with anyone else to understand the data structure
- Do I need all the data for more granular analysis, or do I need a subset to ensure faster performance?
- Will the data need to be standardized due to disparity?
- Will I need to analyze data from external sources, which resides outside of my organization’s data?