Statistical analysis software: your complete guide to getting started
Having access to huge amounts of data presents almost unlimited possibilities for businesses looking to understand everything from business and marketing performance to customer sentiment and desires for product updates or new services.
But data alone isn’t enough.
The answers come from data analysis, and statistical analysis software is key to ensuring businesses are able to collect, analyze and draw conclusions from the data they have.
In this guide we’ll take a deep dive into statistical analysis software so you understand what it is, and how to get the most out of it.
What is statistical analysis software?
Statistical analysis software is a tool (or set of tools) that is used to help with the collection and analysis of data.
Using statistical software, it’s possible to identify science-based trends and insights in a given data set, meaning the data can be better understood and used to make accurate interpretations and decisions.
These software programs will often test statistical analysis theories to prove or disprove a hypothesis or adopt a particular (or several) statistical analysis methods in order to understand data gathered from a survey or other data collection method.
Within business, statistical analysis software can help senior decision-makers better understand the environment in which they’re working, whether it’s:
- Using surveys to understand customer behavior
- Exploring relationships between data points to understand a particular event
- Predicting future needs in order to deploy resources more effectively
- Benchmark business performance in order to judge future growth potential
- Carry out satisfaction surveys for clients to improve services
Benefits of using statistical analysis software
Statistical analysis as a practice is something that can be completed manually, but this is highly inefficient and increases the chances of corrupted data and decisions being made based on the wrong assumptions.
Statistical software not only removes the risks of data corruption but can streamline the analysis of massive data sets, allowing information to be manipulated and reported to uncover several insights from the same report.
Some of the other benefits include:
- Increased accuracy of results to inform better decision making
- Visually report on data insights, making them much easier to understand
- Analyze data from far bigger databases in less time
- Improves decision-making based on data and accurate analysis
What’s the business impact? Why should I care?
It’s an established fact that an increasing number of businesses are becoming more reliant on data when it comes to planning. According to one survey, more than a third of business leaders rated the importance of data preparation as “very important”.
And according to another survey, businesses using data and statistical analysis were found to make decisions around 5 times faster than businesses that didn’t use data and statistical analysis.
Here are some of the main business benefits of using statistical analysis software:
Improved marketing performance
Using data in marketing, particularly for customer targeting, can improve marketing efficient by around 20%, according to a study by McKinsey & Company.
Identify more opportunities
Running a business on gut instinct might sound great, but you’re much more likely to be successful if you rely on data. Data analysis makes it much easier to spot potential commercial opportunities that you might have overwise missed.
Improved productivity can drive growth across the business, but ineffective processes and procedures is one of the biggest killers of productivity. By using data to find the inefficiencies in a company you can more easily identify and solve problems.
Understanding where inefficiencies are in terms of spend is valuable to reduce costs and ultimately improve profits and drive growth. By using data to analyze business decisions, processes, and procedures, you can see where it’s possible to reduce spend without damaging the business.
What to look for when shopping for statistical analysis software
If you’re in the market for statistical analysis software you’ll find there are lots to choose from, and each software will be slightly different.
Here are the key points to consider when shopping for statistical analysis software to ensure you get the tools you need:
Does it have statistical analysis methods built in?
There are many analysis methods that you can use when looking at data, when buying the software you should check that it has the most common analysis methods built in, which will make it much easier for you to carry out multiple types of studies using the same software.
If your software requires you to do extra work to gain insights, you’re not getting what you paid for.
How much does it cost?
Obviously, your budget will determine which statistical software you’re ultimately able to buy, but you shouldn’t just go for the cheapest option.
Choosing the statistical software with the best features for your goals will ultimately save you more time and money in the long-run than opting simply for the cheapest software.
Can you visualize your data?
Data visualization is key for presenting findings and easily interpreting the information you’ve uncovered and is something you should look for in your software.
Whether you want to present customer data using a topographic map, or simply show graphs and charts from surveys of your employees and consumers, your statistical software should be able to manage this.
You should also be sure that you can get real-time updates to visuals as you manipulate data to draw instant comparisons and insights.
Can you understand how the results were reached?
Just like raw data is useless without analysis, getting final results won’t be beneficial unless you can understand how you got to your conclusion.
Your statistical software should allow you to deconstruct your collection and analysis methods so you can better measure the outcomes.
It could also help you identify any mistakes that were made during the collection process and ensure you’re dealing with clean, reliable data.
Is it reliable software?
This might sound obvious, but you should look for statistical analysis software that is widely used by organizations similar to yours.
The more popular the software, the more likely it is to be reliable. So be sure to check testimonials and case studies of your chosen software.
What support will you get?
While you might have the ability to analyze a survey if you run into a problem you need to know the support is there so you can resolve it can move on quickly. Whether it’s documentation or a resources library so you can solve the problem on your own, or having a team you can call on - this is definitely something you’ll need to keep in mind.
Does your software come with a ‘package’ of tools?
While you might buy statistical analysis software for a specific purpose, it doesn’t mean you won’t want to use it for a different type of analysis down the road.
So you should look for statistical analysis software that includes a number of methodologies and tools, so you don’t have to buy additional add-ons later.
How to use statistical analysis tools for results
Using your statistical analysis tools will ensure you get reliable, accurate, and usable results that you can use for decision-making.
One of the first things you’ll need to do after completing your sampling is setting your survey benchmark.
This is your starting point and ensures you’ll get a clear understanding of what your collected data is telling you.
Using your software for statistical modeling, or designing your survey can help make the planning stage much more efficient.
With the right software, you can model your survey within your software and test it to ensure the study will work and produce results as you planned.
This can help you identify potential problems in your initial phase and make this a lot easier down the line.
You should also understand whether you want to run a descriptive study, which will give you information about a population today, or an inferential study, which will provide you with information you can use to interpret what might happen in the future.
Ultimately, your statistical analysis software will help you with everything from data preparation and data management, right through to analysis and reporting.
With the additional features and insights you can gain from using statistical software you’ll be able to generate much better insights and draw better conclusions.
Plus, with better data visualization tools available with dedicated software, you’ll find it much easier to report on and present findings to drive change and improvements in your business and organization.
Get the best statistical analysis software from Qualtrics
With Qualtrics statistical analysis tool and Stats iQ you’ll be able to uncover more meaning from the information you collect and produce more meaningful and predictive models.
Because Stats iQ automatically runs all the right tests and visualizations and presents results in an easy-to-understand, visual format, you’ll find the whole survey and analysis process much easier.
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