How To
Sep 19, 2023

6 Data Analysis Best Practices: Expert Tips and Techniques

Collecting data is just the start. 

To make it work, you need to turn raw data into valuable insights, and that's where the real magic happens.

However, data analysis can be tricky.

To help you out, we’ve created a list of the six best data analysis practices you need to follow to make the best data-driven decisions. 

Let’s get started.

1. Define the purpose and key objectives of your data analysis

We know you’ve heard this a thousand times, but this point is so important that we need to put this in front of you.

Before performing any form of data analysis, begin by asking yourself these questions—

  • What problem are you trying to solve, or what questions are you aiming to answer?
  • What are the concrete outcomes you want to achieve? 
  • If you're working within an organization, ensure that your analysis aligns with the goals and priorities of stakeholders. How does your analysis support their needs?

As Blake Burch, the co-founder of Shipyardapp, states, "Your ultimate goal with data analysis should be to know how you want to start digging in, what questions are worth asking, and what the impact will be on the business if you discover an answer. Too many people forget to consider how the data will ultimately be used.” 


Suppose you are a data analyst at a major electronics retail chain. The company recently launched a new line of smart home devices, including smart thermostats, lights, and security cameras. Initial projections estimated robust sales, but three months post-launch, the numbers are not meeting expectations.

So, while analyzing the last three months data, you first need to ask yourself:

What problem are you trying to solve, or what questions are you aiming to answer?

  • Why are sales of the new smart home product line not meeting the projected numbers?
  • Are there specific products within the line that are underperforming more than others?
  • How do sales figures compare across different store locations or regions?

What are the concrete outcomes you want to achieve?

  • Identify the primary reasons for the sales shortfall.
  • Provide actionable recommendations to boost sales, whether through marketing, pricing adjustments, or in-store promotions.
  • Develop a strategy to increase awareness and education about the product line, if lack of knowledge is identified as a barrier.

If you're working within an organization, ensure that your analysis aligns with the goals and priorities of stakeholders. How does your analysis support their needs?

  • Sales and Marketing Team: They need insights to adjust their strategies. Your analysis can pinpoint where the marketing message is falling short or if there are pricing issues affecting sales.
  • Store Managers: They want to meet their sales targets and earn bonuses. Your findings can guide them on which products to promote more aggressively or suggest bundling strategies to increase sales.
  • Product Management and Procurement: If certain products are consistently underperforming, they might need to reconsider their inventory levels or negotiate with suppliers. Your analysis will provide clarity on product performance.
  • Executive Leadership: They are looking at the broader company strategy and profitability. Your insights will help them understand if the new product line aligns with the company's long-term goals and what adjustments are necessary.

2. Use pivot tables

Pivot tables provide a structured way to summarize, analyze, and visualize data, making complex datasets more manageable and understandable. 

Pivot tables simplify data analysis by enabling users to explore patterns, trends, and relationships within large datasets. 

While you can use pivot tables in Excel and other spreadsheet platforms, these platforms make it too complicated to understand for some users.

Gigasheet is a powerful and user-friendly option for creating pivot tables. Our platform offers a seamless experience to help analysts create pivot tables effortlessly.

Let’s see a practical example of how pivot tables can transform a chaotic dataset into valuable insights. 

Say you’re creating a list of the best AI companies and their employers. To create a Pivot Table in Gigasheet, follow this—

  • Once you’ve opened your spreadsheet, at the end, on the right side, you’ll see an arrow sign (that we’ve pointed with an arrow).
Spreadsheet showing sample data pf Top AI companies/Employers Count.
  • Click and choose the Column option.
Pivot Table dialog box in Gigasheet.
  • Now, you can add the columns to their respective area using drag and drop functionality. We added Country and Industry to Row Groups and the rest to Values. Just switch on the Pivot Mode, and you’re done.
Sample data organized in a Pivot Table in Gigasheet.

3. Let AI take charge.

96% of executives planned to use AI simulation for real-time business performance analysis in 2022.

Real-time AI optimization is like a skilled mechanic fine-tuning the engine as you race. It's a best practice because it ensures that your AI models continuously operate at their best, adapting to changing data and user behaviors.

And what’s better than having a spreadsheet with an integrated AI assistant?

Gigasheet has its own AI-powered sheet assistant that performs analysis based on your commands. It can filter, group, and aggregate your data in just a few clicks without compromising security. 

Plus, it also explains the process, ensuring you understand the steps it took to provide you with results and help you to upskill your analytical skills.

Let’s see how it works in real life—

  • Clicking on the arrow, choose the Sheet Assistant option (look at the robot head.)
Gigasheet's AI assistant dialog box.
  • You can ask the Sheet Assistant any question, and you’ll be done. We asked the assistant to “Identify companies with a presence in both the 'information technology' and 'internet' industries.” Press enter, and boom.
Image showing how Gigasheet's AI assistant operates.

Gigasheet’s AI assistant automatically groups all the data while telling you all the steps to get there. 

4. Enrich your data

Data enrichment transforms ordinary datasets into a goldmine of insights. Organizations can gain deeper context, enhance data accuracy, and unlock previously hidden opportunities by appending supplementary information to existing data.

It involves appending customer demographics to your existing purchase history dataset, enabling more precise segmentation and personalized marketing.

Gigasheet's AI assistant takes this best practice to the next level by automating the retrieval of additional data, saving time, and ensuring data accuracy.

Let’s say data is a list containing 10 IP addresses. We will geolocate the IP addresses using free Gigasheet GEO IPs.

A sample data sheet showing Gigasheet's GEO IPs.
  • Click the Enrichments function to bring up the Data Enrichment options.
data enrichments in Gigasheet
  • Select Gigasheet - IP Geolocation, and then select the column to enrich.
data enrichment is a data analysis best practice
  • If you have IP addresses in your column, Gigasheet will run the GEO IP Enrichment on them and insert the following information into your sheet:
  1. Country
  2. Country Code
  3. City
  4. County
  5. Region
  6. Latitude
  7. Longitude

As you can see, we have IP addresses from all over the world in the list.

Gigasheet's GEO IP addresses enriched with the help of Gigasheet's AI assistant.

And you’re done. But that’s not it.

GIgasheet comes with a lot of enrichment features like email verification, people enrichment, custom search API, and many more. You can learn more about Gigasheet’s Data Enrichments features here.

5. Use a big data spreadsheet platform to analyze big data

Big data analytics is like a telescope for your data universe. It enables you to harness vast amounts of data, uncover hidden insights, and make data-driven decisions. It also helps you process millions of real-time transactions, clicks, and customer interactions.

A survey says that budget constraints are companies' biggest challenges when implementing Big Data. 50% of US and 39% of European executives said budget constraints were the primary hurdle in turning Big Data into a profitable business asset. 

But you don’t have to worry about that with a big data spreadsheet platform with Gigasheet.

Gigasheet can analyze big data without using any databases or code. You can open a billion rows in Gigasheet and many formats like SV, JSON files, HTML, PCAP, SQLite, etc. You can combine hundreds of files into a single sheet, use VLookup to add columns, remove unwanted rows, and use additional tools to prepare your sheet for analysis!

Here’s a rough sketch of all you can do with Gigasheet—

  • Groups and Filters: You can filter data with as many conditions as you want. Like here, we filtered all the companies with more than 90000 employees together.
Demonstrating how you can Filter datasets with any command in Gigasheet.
  • You can also group the columns and create Pivot Tables, charts, and more. Here, we grouped Industries and Countries—
Demonstrating how you can Group  datasets in Gigasheet.
  • Plus, you’ve already seen how you can enrich data and create Pivot Tables, and now it’s time to see how Gigasheet makes Data visualization easier.

6. Visualize your data

You know that no one wants to go through spreadsheets to analyze data. The best way to present data is through charts, histograms, tables, etc.

Showcasing Gigasheet's visualization tools like bar charts, histograms, tables, etc.

Data visualization allows complex datasets to be presented visually in an easily understandable and stunning format. Create graphical representations of data to reveal patterns, trends, and insights that might be hidden in rows and columns of numbers. 

Gigasheet, with its rich suite of visualization tools, amplifies the power of data visualization, making it an essential component of practical data analysis.

Data Analysis Best Practices: Final Thoughts

It’s easy to get lost in the data jungle, but these best practices will help you stay on track with your analysis efforts.

We've explored different strategies to help you unlock your data's true potential. 

Gigasheet can be a valuable tool in your arsenal, especially if you’re looking for a user-friendly and intuitive big data spreadsheet platform to analyze your data.

Gigasheet is more than just a tool; it's a game-changer in data analysis. With its intuitive interface and robust functionality, Gigasheet lets you easily handle big datasets, ensuring you can analyze every byte of information and create stunning visuals.

But don’t take our word for it.

Take Gigasheet out for a test spin today.

Sign up for free here.

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