As I read The Data Analysis Process: 5 Steps To Better Decision Making, it seems clear that this plan is a step by step way to analyze data. However, it is not a goal oriented plan to achieve success.
In my career in business development, I have found data can often be manipulated to meet your desired conclusion. Therefore, it is a better use of your time to create a desired target (such as a new client), and then acquire them with the right information (a targeted proposal with facts that makes your company the right solution). This is the opposite advice of the plan offered by this article.
This article starts by stating that you need to “Define Your Questions” by drafting “measurable clear and concise” questions that can then be answered in a definitive manner. However, what if you were to start with a statement or goal such as “we plan to sponsor this trade show” and then begin to collect the data to support that plan. In this scenario, it makes no sense to list out data that does not support your case. For example, if you can show your internal buyer that there are ten worthwhile business development targets at this trade show, why would you spend time listing out the other attendees?
My concerns regarding this article are exemplified where it states that “as you manipulate data, you may find you have the exact data you need, but more likely, you might need to revise your original question or collect more data.” If you cannot support your opening statement, then beginning fresh would be a better use of time than rehashing data that doesn’t even answer your initial question. To expand from the initial example, if you cannot show that there are enough potential targets that make trade show sponsorship worthwhile, than why rehash the data that showed that? Just begin searching for a better way to spend your marketing dollars.
Big Sky Associates, The Data Analysis Process: 5 Steps To Better Decision Making, John Dillard (link)