Document management software (DMS) is not just used to store your information—it’s also a tool that allows you to extract insight from the data you collect. What is data insight, and why is it such a big deal? In this article, we’ll answer those questions and explain how you can gain insight from data management, too.


What Is Data Insight?

Data insight is a big buzzword in the industry, but not everyone understands what it really means. “Insight is the understanding of a specific cause and effect in a specific context.” Data insight refers to insight that is gained from reviewing and analyzing data.


Why Is Data Insight Such a Big Deal?

Many organizations collect mountains of data, including transaction information, customer information, website statistics, buying trends, and more. For example, insurance agencies collect policy data, claims information, payout data, and more. Taken as a whole, this large amount of data collection seems overwhelming; but if you use the data your company is already collecting for business process management purposes, you stand to gain valuable insights from it.

For example, you may notice that most of your customers frequent your website in the evening, and you may also notice that most of your sales happen at midday. Does that mean that your customers are learning about you in the evenings and coming back to purchase the next day? Or is it that the customers who look you up in the evening aren’t the prospects who turn into buyers the next day? The data you have can help you understand what’s going on.

Your organization can also use information from your customer service department to make a difference. For example, how many of your customers have to call more than once to resolve a specific problem? Are they calling back within a few days because they forgot to ask a question, or are they calling because of a new problem? If you use the information you have, you may be able to lower the number of callbacks you receive. That affects both customer satisfaction and your call center expenses.

As you can see, data insight can help your company on various different levels. Now for the question, what qualifies as extracting insight from data?


How to Gain Insight from Your Data

In order to gain insight from your data, you have to go into the process without preconceived notions. Your goal is not to verify or support certain assumptions, but to take a look at the data as a whole to recognize new trends. While you’ll use both quantitative and qualitative analyses to draw conclusions from your data, that’s not your first step.
Define the Context
Your first step should be to determine what you’re trying to achieve. Is your goal to reduce operational costs, increase sales for a specific region, or reduce the number of callbacks? It’s a good idea to set a deadline for your goal at this point, once you’ve established what your goal will be.
Define the Outcome
What does your preferred outcome look like? It helps to have specific, measurable goals in order to ensure that your data insight is working. For example, you could strive for a 20% reduction in callbacks after you implement the solution data insight has provided you with.
Visualize Your Data
To gain data insight, you’re always looking for process simplifying technologies because it’s important to be able to isolate data and spot strong relationships with the data you have.

In order to understand the information you’re collecting, you need to visualize the numbers. It’s important to focus on trends instead of single data points. Generally, the best way to represent data trends is to use a graph. You can draw these graphs by hand to gain a better understanding in the beginning, but you can also use software to help you illustrate more complicated relationships.
Compare Time Ranges
Sometimes you can see trends only by comparing different time ranges. Instead of just comparing each month of the year, you could compare last summer with the summer before it. It’s important to make sure that your time ranges are comparable. For example, February has fewer days than every other month, so you need to take that into consideration when comparing it with March.
Invite Other People to Look at the Data
In order to gain another perspective, it’s a good idea to invite other people to look at the information with you. They may spot trends and relationships that you hadn’t previously noticed. Talking to other people about the data may also inspire you to gain additional insight. Data insight is certainly a team effort.


Document Management Software and Data Insight

Although many believe data is merely numerical, defines data as “information that has been translated into a form that is more convenient to move or process.” This makes document management software a harbinger of data consolidation and gathering.

Data insight isn’t just about the numbers. While you certainly need hard numbers to understand what’s going on, data insight can also come from a different source. For example, with the use of workflows inside of eFileCabinet, it’s easy to find out which processes work better for your organization. Workflows can increase workspace efficiency and employee satisfaction.