The Ins and Outs of Data Contextualization

In a world overrun by 24/7 information, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or misunderstand insights we glean. This holds true for businesses too, which must be sure they are making evidence-based decisions, developing the right strategies, and hitting goals. 

While data can be an invaluable resource for businesses looking to make better and smarter choices, it can be complex, too. That’s why one of the most important concepts for businesses to understand and use is data contextualization. With the help of data contextualization, you can analyze big data easily to identify patterns, trends, correlations, and gain valuable insights from the data you’ve collected.  

If your business is looking to better understand what your data is telling you, keep reading to learn more about data contextualization and how it can get you from data to insights in no time. 

What is contextualization?

According to the proceedings of the 50th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, context is information about a certain entity that can be used to reduce the amount of reasoning required for decision-making that’s within the scope of a specific application.

When applied to data analysis, contextualization helps to identify relevant information that can help determine patterns, trends, and correlations. With this data integration, you can provide context to users allowing for better interpretation of your data and enabling you to make smarter decisions.

What is big data?

Big data is a field that treats ways to analyze, systematically extract information from, or otherwise deal with data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software. 

Though data with many categories or columns offer huge statistical power, it could still lead to a high false discovery rate. With that, big data challenges may include data storage, capturing data, search, sharing, querying, transfer, data source, and more. Seeing as it’s a complex concept, working with big data analytics to reduce the obstacles in obtaining data is vital.

The power of data contextualization

Adding context to data means including background information, patterns, trends, outliers, and more, to help a reader make sense of what the data is really saying. For example, in the retail industry, a reported drop in sales during a given month is not valuable without considering things like traffic patterns, previous benchmarks, holidays, and more. Once you have all of that information, a story begins to emerge. It could be that the drop in sales happened over a holiday weekend when most customers go out of town, and isn’t anything to worry about. Or it could be a troubling trend that requires attention. 

More generally, when data is properly contextualized, businesses can use it to guide customer relationships, improve marketing strategies, predict future economic trends, and manage risk.

From there, you can employ data storytelling to create a story from the data analysis you’ve obtained. This allows people to understand complex information and use it to make decisions and take actions against issues. This is incredibly important for influential communications, as narratives and visuals are an effective medium that allows our brain to understand information better, remember it, and make informed decisions.

The Bottom Line: Big Decisions Require Big Data Contextualization 

When it comes to expansion and taking your business to another level, it’s incredibly important to include big data analysis and contextualization into your efforts. With a better understanding of data – such as what it is and how contextualization can make it actionable, you can create impactful strategies and take the right steps to help your company grow and motivate your employees.

Knowing the basics should help you make better decisions in the future, though working with big data analytics companies like Gemini Data is key for accurate, effective, and strategic data analysis.

If you’re interested in learning more about data contextualization and how it can help your business, reach out to us today. We help organizations construct a connected view of their business and can help solve your biggest data challenges, enabling you to understand and share data stories.

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