Two things I spend a lot of time doing are:

  1. Drawing funnels – my workbook and desk are full of them.
  2. Explaining the difference between reporting and actionable insights.

As I can’t see the first one ever changing, I want to concentrate on a simple explanation of the difference between creating a report and producing actionable insights.

The foundation of both reports and insights may be the same underlying data, however the approach is different.  The Adobe blog  goes some way to explain the difference between a Report and Analysis.  The output of analysis should always be an actionable insight.

Reporting:  The process of organising data into informational summaries in order to monitor how each area of the business is performing.

Analysis:  The process of exploring the data and reports to extract meaningful insights, which should be used to better understand and maximise business performance.

Reporting translates raw data into digestible information. Analysis transforms data and information into further insights.  Reporting helps companies to monitor their online business, being alerted when data falls outside of their expected ranges, either up or downwards. Good reporting should raise questions about the business from its end users. The goal of analysis is to answer questions by interpreting the data at a deeper level and providing actionable recommendations. Through the process of performing analysis you may raise additional questions, but the goal is to identify answers, or at least potential answers that can be tested. In summary, reporting shows you what is happening while analysis focuses on explaining why it is happening and what you can do about it.

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