Analysis has provided my bread and (almond) butter for the last 15+ years. As an analyst, I convert data into insights by using statistical or philosophical tools.
Statistical analysis allows us to dig into numeric data, which many, especially larger, businesses collect regularly. This collection ranges from point-of-sales information – captured whenever you buy something – to demographics. Combining various sources can provide even more powerful insights that can help business not only what types of customers they have but also who these customers are – and how to find similar new ones. For example, by understanding their customers better, a retail client was able to target their catalogs more effectively to potential new customers, thus increasing the number of new sales.
Philosophical analysis also uses data, though that data is more abstract, often expressed in the form of ideas. These analyses often try to dig below the ideas to uncover – and question – underlying assumptions, which can uncover connections that then can be leveraged. For example, in my thesis, I used insights from psychology to question a common institution, marriage, and pointed out that we might want to develop new ways of interacting.
Combining these tools can give us even deeper insights allowing us to develop programs that address underlying issues more thoroughly. For example, I investigated the extend of violence against women in Buddhist countries and then used the findings to look at teachings that might condone such violence.