The Benefits of Using External Data: How It Improves Decision Making and Business Strategy

Have you ever wondered why some businesses always seem to make the right decisions? They seem to have a deep understanding of their markets, customers, and competitors. The secret to their success is external data.

External data refers to information that exists outside of a company’s internal network. It includes social media feeds, online reviews, market research reports, government statistics, and more. With the advent of big data, external data has become an essential tool for businesses looking to gain a competitive advantage.

But what makes external data so important? In this blog post, we’ll explore the various types of external data, provide examples of its sources, and discuss the benefits of incorporating it into business strategy. We’ll also look at the features of electronic spreadsheets that make them useful for analyzing external data.

So, whether you’re a business owner or a data analyst, join us on this journey as we unpack the power of external data and how it can help you to make informed decisions and stay ahead of the competition.

Types of External Data

When it comes to external data, there are several types that you can incorporate into your business operations. Here are some types of external data to consider:

1. Social Media Data

Social media platforms generate an enormous amount of data every second. This data is gold that can be used to understand customer behavior and preferences, which can help businesses make data-driven decisions. Social media data includes metrics like engagement rates, click-through rates, and followers.

2. Government Data

Governments also generate massive amounts of data that businesses can use. This data can include demographic information, economic indicators, and public records. Accessing and analyzing government data can help companies identify trends, gain insights into macroeconomic factors, and inform decision-making processes.

3. Market Data

Market data provides insights into the broader market landscape, including competitors, pricing, and industry trends. This data can be especially useful for businesses seeking to enter a new market or launch a new product. Third-party vendors offer market data packages that provide businesses with detailed reports on market trends, consumer behavior, and competition.

4. Weather Data

Weather data might seem obscure, but it can be crucial for industries such as agriculture, travel, and transportation. Predictive models based on weather data can help businesses optimize operations, reduce costs, and minimize risks.

5. Web Analytics Data

Web analytics data tracks website traffic, user behavior, and engagement rates. This data can help businesses understand how users interact with their website and make data-driven decisions on how to improve it. Web analytics data includes metrics such as page views, bounce rate, and session duration.

Incorporating external data into your business operations can provide several benefits. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the data you use is reliable and relevant to your business. By selecting the right types of external data and analyzing it effectively, you can gain key insights that can help improve operations, reduce costs, and drive revenue growth.

Internal and External Data Examples

When it comes to using data, there are two main types of data: internal and external. Internal data refers to the data that a company generates through its operations, such as sales data, customer information, and employee performance metrics. External data, on the other hand, is data that comes from sources outside of the company, such as industry reports, government data, and social media.

Both internal and external data can be incredibly useful for businesses. Here are some examples of how each type of data can be used:

Internal Data Examples

  • Sales data: By analyzing sales data, businesses can identify which products are most popular, which regions have the highest or lowest sales, and what time of year sales are strongest. This information can be used to inform marketing campaigns, product development, and pricing strategies.

  • Customer data: By analyzing customer data, businesses can identify which customers are most valuable, which products or services are most popular with certain customer segments, and what factors influence customer loyalty. This information can be used to improve customer service, develop targeted marketing campaigns, and create personalized experiences for customers.

  • Employee performance metrics: By tracking employee performance metrics, businesses can identify top performers, areas where employees may need additional training or support, and overall productivity levels. This information can be used to make informed decisions about promotions, raises, and training programs.

External Data Examples

  • Industry reports: By analyzing industry reports, businesses can identify trends and opportunities within their industry. They can also use this information to benchmark their performance against their competitors.

  • Government data: By analyzing government data, businesses can gain insights into the overall economy, demographic trends, and consumer behavior. This information can be used to inform long-term strategic planning.

  • Social media: By monitoring social media, businesses can gain insights into how consumers feel about their brand, what types of content are most engaging, and what their competitors are doing. This information can be used to improve social media marketing campaigns, product development, and overall brand reputation.

In conclusion, both internal and external data can provide valuable insights for businesses. By analyzing and using this data effectively, businesses can make more informed decisions, improve their operations, and ultimately, increase their bottom line.

Examples of Sources of External Data

External data refers to any information that is collected from outside an organization’s internal system. There are various sources of external data that companies can use to gain insights, make informed decisions, and improve performance. Here are some examples of sources of external data:

Public Sources

Public sources provide a wealth of external data, often at no cost. Companies use public sources like the following:

  • Social media platforms
  • Government databases and websites
  • News articles and journals
  • Industry reports

Industry Data

Industry data refers to external information collected within a particular industry. Companies use industry data to gain insights into market trends, customer behavior and preferences, and industry-wide issues. Examples of industry data sources include:

  • Trade associations
  • Industry analysts and experts
  • Customer feedback and reviews

Commercial Data

Commercial data refers to external information sold by companies or organizations for a fee. Commercial data helps businesses gain insights on competition, customer demographics, market trends, and more. Examples of commercial data sources include:

  • Market research firms
  • Subscription-based databases
  • Data aggregators

Partnerships and Collaborations

Partnerships and collaborations between companies or organizations are another way of gaining external data. Companies can collaborate with other businesses or academic institutions to gain access to data or expertise. Examples of partnership-based external data sources include:

  • Joint research initiatives
  • Collaborative industry projects
  • Data sharing agreements

When a company incorporates external data into their decision-making process, they can gain valuable insights and make informed decisions. By leveraging a range of external data sources, companies can benefit from enhanced decision-making, increased efficiency, and better business outcomes.

Benefits of Using External Data

As businesses continue to grow, the need for information becomes increasingly important to professional success. External data provides companies with valuable insights that can help inform decision-making processes, identify new opportunities, and improve overall performance. Here are some key benefits of utilizing external data:

Identification of Market Trends and Patterns

One of the significant benefits of using external data is its ability to identify market trends and patterns. External sources of data have a broader reach and capture a more extensive range of information that businesses may not necessarily have access to. This data can help a company build a better understanding of its customer base, identify trends in customer behavior, and gain valuable insights into its competitors’ activities.

Improved Business Performance

External data can help businesses make more informed decisions, which can ultimately lead to improved performance. For instance, by tracking social media trends, companies can identify customer sentiments and develop strategies that cater to their needs. Additionally, external data can help businesses identify new markets or opportunities for growth, enabling them to expand operations and improve profitability.

Risk Mitigation

External data can also help businesses identify potential risks and vulnerabilities and develop strategies to mitigate them. For instance, by monitoring external threats, such as changes in government regulations or shifts in consumer behavior, companies can implement measures to protect themselves from adverse impacts.

Cost Savings

Using external data can save businesses time and money, providing access to valuable information without having to conduct expensive research or surveys. By leveraging external data sources, companies can quickly obtain the information they need, improving decision-making processes and optimizing operations.

decision making business strategy

Competitive Advantage

External data can provide businesses with a competitive advantage, enabling them to stay ahead of the competition by identifying new market opportunities, keeping ahead of changing consumer trends, and developing innovative solutions. This information can help businesses stay agile and adapt quickly to changes in the market, improving their competitive position and driving growth.

In conclusion, the importance of external data to business success cannot be overstated. By leveraging external data sources, businesses can identify new opportunities, mitigate risks, improve performance, and gain a competitive advantage. With the right approach, external data can help businesses drive growth and achieve success in today’s dynamic marketplace.

Features of Electronic Spreadsheets That Make Them Useful

Electronic spreadsheets are valuable tools for manipulating and analyzing data. Here are some features that make them incredibly useful:

Easy to Use

Electronic spreadsheets are user-friendly and straightforward. With just a few clicks, anyone can create a spreadsheet for data analysis or storage. This ease of use makes them perfect for both novice and expert users.

Customization Options

Electronic spreadsheets can be easily customized to fit your specific needs. You can add formulas, charts, and graphs to organize and visualize your data. With the right customization, you can quickly identify trends, monitor your business performance, and make informed decisions.

decision making business strategy


Electronic spreadsheets can store vast amounts of data and can handle different types of data from various sources. They can also perform simple or complex calculations, which is useful for businesses, accounting, and finance professionals.


Electronic spreadsheets are engaging and interactive, which makes them more effective when presenting data to an audience. You can create charts, graphs and conditional formatting to make the data more visually appealing.


With electronic spreadsheets, team members can collaborate in real-time. This feature allows teams to work together, share ideas, create dashboards, and track progress.


Electronic spreadsheets are generally more affordable than other data analysis tools. You can create and maintain spreadsheets without having to invest in complex or expensive software.

In conclusion, electronic spreadsheets simplify data manipulation, analysis and storage. They are valuable for businesses, accounting and finance professionals, and other industries that require data tracking and analysis. With the features mentioned above, electronic spreadsheets make it easier for users to create, save, and share valuable information.

Requirements for Reliable External Data

External data can be an excellent source of insights and information for businesses of all types and sizes, but it’s crucial to ensure that the data you are using is reliable. Here are some of the requirements for external data to be considered reliable:

1. Accuracy

The information provided by external data sources must be accurate and free of errors. Any inaccuracies in data can lead to incorrect insights and wrong decisions, which can be costly for businesses.

2. Completeness

The external data sources must provide complete information on the topic at hand. Incomplete data can be misleading and can result in incomplete insights and incorrect conclusions.

3. Timeliness

External data must be timely and up-to-date to be considered reliable. Outdated data can lead to inaccurate insights and conclusions, which can negatively impact business decisions.

4. Relevance

The external data must be relevant to the business’s needs. Irrelevant data can be a waste of time and resources and can lead to incorrect conclusions.

decision making business strategy

5. Credibility

External data sources must be credible and trustworthy. It’s essential to verify the credibility of the sources to ensure that the data is accurate, complete, timely, and relevant.

6. Consistency

External data must be consistent in its format to be considered reliable. Inconsistencies in data can lead to incorrect insights, which can negatively impact the accuracy and usability of the data.

By ensuring that external data meets these requirements, businesses can make informed decisions that are based on accurate, timely, and relevant information.

You May Also Like