Big data is becoming big business. More venture capital (VC) funding is flowing to big data startups than ever, and the news cycle seems to include a big data component almost daily. According to a recent blog post in the Harvard Business Review, business managers need to become more familiar with data and quantitative analysis, and have the ability to communicate just what those numbers mean.

The post cites a prediction from McKinsey Global Institute that states that an additional 1.5 million data-savvy managers will need to be added to the workforce to handle the massive amounts of data being collected on a daily basis. The results of all of the data crunching wonít simply ďspeak for themselves,Ē they will have to be communicated and explained in a manner that allows recipients to take action, whether itís making a business decision or a personal purchasing decision.

When collecting data, what is important to include and what isnít? How does data help define the decision-making process? The author looks at a model developed at Intuit that describes a simple process for communicating the results of an analysis. First, understand the underlying problem, decide how you will measure the impact of the data and what data is available, define the initial solution hypothesis, determine the solution as derived from the data, and discover the impact of this solution.

The conclusion is simple Ė donít confuse your audience with data analytics and the details of how you crunched the data. People care about what data means, so tell them that story. You can always follow it up with information on how you derived the data and came to the conclusion if necessary.