Optimize your data collection and cleaning process

Most data work is spent on collection and cleaning – not analyzing and discovering insights. Read our best practices to free up your time.

Optimize your data collection and cleaning process

Data collection 101

If you've ever had the pleasure of accessing an orderly and well-organized filing cabinet, you'll know the value of a proper data collection process. It can save you countless hours searching for the information you need.

But what exactly is data collection? It's the process of gathering and organizing information about a particular industry, topic, or trend to generate actionable insights for informed decision-making. This requires collecting, cleaning, and analyzing data accurately from various sources, including your own company and legally required documents filed by competitors and suppliers.

Having a strong data collection process in place is essential. For example, let's say you gather inaccurate information about the size of a market you want to enter. This could cause you to underestimate the potential of that market, and as a result, you may choose not to enter it with a particular product group, leading to missed revenue opportunities.

With effective data collection, however, you can gain valuable insights into a specific market, industry trends, competitors, and suppliers. The process will ultimately save you time and resources that can be used to drive growth for your organization.

Get your hands on the data

You know that data is the key to driving informed decisions. But where do you find the right data, and how do you collect it efficiently?

It’s important to remember that data can be collected in many ways, such as through surveys, focus groups, pre-aggregated datasets, and statistics. But some methods of data collection can be particularly useful depending on your goal:

You want to gain insights into market developments. Aggregated data from statistical offices like Eurostat will become your greatest ally. That being said, these large datasets can be overwhelming, making it difficult to understand them fully. At A-INSIGHTS, we prioritize accuracy and detail to provide you with the most comprehensive and valuable data possible.

You want to gain insights into your suppliers or competitors. That’s where annual reports come in handy – they are a goldmine of information as they contain both qualitative and quantitative data. To help you save time and energy, we extract the key quantitative information and enrich it with relevant news articles and other quality secondary sources.

In addition to annual reports, there are other avenues to explore for collecting valuable data. By tapping into customer and employee feedback, as well as marketing and publicly available data, you can gain a deeper understanding of your industry and make more informed decisions. Our platform is designed to make this process easier and more efficient, allowing you to focus on the insights and analysis that will drive your business forward.

The tool you need

As we have seen, collecting data requires time and resources. You must identify the best questions to ask, and the method of inquiry, and then moderate how the data is recorded and presented. You might choose to use a data collection tool, which is a software program or device used to gather information from multiple sources.

We can help you gather valuable data on your competitors quickly and easily. Our tools scan through your competitor list and extract the most useful information, which we then clean and present to you in a personalized platform on our website.

The tool you need

Data cleaning and its importance

Think of data cleaning as a jigsaw puzzle. You have all the pieces, but they are not arranged in a way that makes sense. Data cleaning involves taking all the scattered pieces of information and putting them together in a way that creates a clear picture.

The process may involve removing duplicate data points, standardizing formats, identifying missing or incorrect data, and resolving inconsistencies. Data cleaning is used to improve the quality and reliability of data so that it’s easier to analyze and understand. But having accurate data will also help you and others see it in the right way, so you can make the best decisions that will make the biggest difference.

Data comparability and consequences

Think of data comparability like a game of spotting the difference. By comparing two data sets, you're trying to find the similarities and differences between them. Just like how it's easier to spot the differences between two almost-identical pictures side-by-side, data comparability helps you identify how different data sources behave in relation to each other.

What happens when data isn’t comparable?
If data is not comparable, it can lead to several problems during and after analysis, including:
Incorrect conclusions
When data is not comparable, analysis can lead to incorrect conclusions and misinformed decisions.
Invalid comparisons
The data cannot be used to make valid comparisons between different sources, time periods, or other metrics.
Lack of trust
It can lead to results and conclusions that cannot be trusted.
Inefficient use of resources
Time and resources are spent analyzing and interpreting data that is not accurate or valid.
Inability to measure progress
It is now difficult or impossible to measure progress over time, as changes in the data may be due to changes in the data collection methods rather than real changes in the subjects and areas being studied.

How to ensure data comparability

Data comparability means making sure that data can be compared and analyzed in a standardized way. For example, if data is collected using different currencies or units of measurement, it can be difficult to make sense of. By making sure the data is in the same format, you can easily spot trends and patterns, and avoid roadblocks in the long term. Here’s a process we advise you to follow:

Comparing financial data between countries

Comparing financial data from companies based in different countries can be challenging because of differences in accounting standards, financial reporting culture, and currency exchange rates. To make meaningful comparisons, it is important to adjust for these differences. If those differences are too significant to adjust, it is then crucial to acknowledge and consider them before drawing any conclusions.

A-INSIGHTS ensures your data is properly positioned for optimal comparisons.

At A-INSIGHTS, we understand that most of the data work is spent on collecting and cleaning data, leaving less time for analysis and decision-making. That's why we take care of identifying the relevant data, cleaning it, and ensuring it is comparable to yours. By providing us with a list of companies and competitors, we handle the data cleaning and verification, freeing up your time to focus on making informed decisions and improving your business performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is data collection?

Data collection is the process of gathering information and transforming it into understandable metrics, charts, and numbers so that it can be analyzed and used to make informed decisions. This requires a systematic approach to acquisition, measurement, and record keeping.

Why is data collection important?

Data collection is important because it allows for informed decision-making, analysis, and problem-solving. Meaningful analysis of any industry begins by collecting the right data. Incorrect data, or data that underestimates a market size or product group, can lead to erroneous conclusions and missed opportunities.

What is the purpose of data collection?

Data is collected to provide a solid foundation for informed decision-making, analysis, and problem-solving. Data can tell a story about trends, and industry shifts, or track the results of previous and current business decisions. For data to be actionable, it must be properly collected and cleaned.

What is a data collection procedure?

A data collection procedure is a systematic approach to gathering information from diverse sources. This information is gathered using a uniform means of collection, ensuring the sources are treated equally. This allows for the data to be used in research, analysis, and decision-making.

What are data collection tools?

Data collection tools are software programs or devices that gather information from diverse sources. For example, business intelligence tools collect, analyze, and visualize financial data. This data might be visualized in a dashboard, report, or another form.  Then it can be used to inform strategic decision-making and performance management.

Can’t find the answer to your question? Contact us and get support from our team.