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We live in a world with thousands of data collection methods – and even more data.

Companies like Teradata, Palantir, Premise, and MemSQL are known for their work in the big data space. Some of these companies – and their competitors – offer predictive analytics and some do not. Some of these companies offer other data mining opportunities and some do not. The definition of big data companies is still fluid, which makes discussing this field fairly difficult. Regardless, one thing can be sure: the importance of data collection and dissection is clear.

Actionable, digestible data is fundamental for businesses looking to enhance strategic planning and development. Nielsen Holdings N.V., an international information and measurement company, has a variety of tools to track consumer purchasing habits – among other behavior. In 2015, Nielsen estimated that 12% of all whiskey sales were represented by flavored liquor, like Fireball, Evan Williams Cherry Reserve, and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire. That number was not wrong, but digging into this data may shine additional light on surface-level information. Interestingly, after Sazerac Co. rebranded Dr. McGillicuddy’s Fireball Whiskey in 2006, sales exploded. Fireball, more than likely, accounts for the majority of the 12% flavored whiskey sales reported by Nielsen.

Let’s take a look at some facts:

The last point is arguably the most important: without firm sales numbers, trends are nearly impossible to prove. The challenge is finding evidence to support educated guesses without leaning too far into the unknown.

Many large reports seem useless without a dedicated process for analysis. However, data analytics do not necessarily require a department of employees or the newest technology. Constructive information comes from the right questions and is organized in a clean, simple format. Clear visuals and digestible data ensure that reports are useful company-wide – no matter the audience. With correctly prepared data, you can find meaning to empower your business.

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