Data has no more influence on your business than a burlap sack of peanuts. After all, data itself is nothing more than a collection of latent bits, characters, and units which require processing to become information.

Information has no more influence on your business than a jar of peanut butter. While the information may be interesting and satisfy a basic level of curiosity, it alone does not nourish. Information requires separating truthful information and false information. It can also be misleading depending on its presentation and context. Therefore, information requires analysis and study for it to become useful knowledge.

Knowledge is the peanut butter sandwich to your business. All of its essential components have been collected, processed, and assembled into a product which is ready for consumption. The presence of knowledge sheds light on otherwise unknown dynamics of your business and points the way forward. Knowledge demands action; Otherwise, it atrophies, decays, and becomes irrelevant.

Action is the energized and nourished business which has enjoyed the delicious peanut butter sandwich. The knowledge has been acted upon, executed through a process of continuous improvement, and its power is reflected in its effect on the business. Action elevates knowledge from trivia to importance.

Avoid being misled by the conversation around the topic of data. The power of data collection and analysis is only present when it serves a goal, and it results in a direct action that moves toward the realization of that goal. Powerful databases and advanced artificial intelligence algorithms alone will not advance business if absent of clear goals and actions. Therefore, as you consider the effort and impact of your data collection, management, and analysis efforts, focus on the actions and goals associated and invest wisely.

Keep your metrics focused and actionable.