In order to be successful and run at the most efficient level, companies have always had to rely on data. Without data companies could not manage their operations, communicate with their customers, pay their workers or even pay invoices! The companies who manage their data best, i.e. analysing it and using insights appropriately will always enjoy better advantages than those who don’t.
For instance a company in the retail sector might use their data to gain better insight into their target markets and as such develop better products which are more suited to their audiences and at a better price. In this way, data has always played a part in overall business strategy but not actually been at the heart of that strategy.
However, this is all changing.
Data, big data, can now be found everywhere. No matter what sector your business is in, no matter what you sell, data will be rearing its head. But how can you use this data to get the best results and stay head of your competitors?
You should focus on the following four strategies:
1. Improved data quality
There is so much data available to us these days; however, not all of it is up to the job and this can lead to mistakes, some of which can be absolutely disastrous for a company, or in one of the worst cases seen, the actual death of humans (drone strikes).
Luckily, the majority of such quality issues are a lot less severe but a lack of quality can end up costing a company a serious amount of money. Not just in terms of actual inaccurate data but in terms of the extra resources needed for a company to check data, which looks inaccurate, before a decision is made.
Taking time to improve the quality of your data, i.e. ensuring that data is correct from the start, will remove these extra costs – and wow, can those costs an be enormous! Literally an organisation might be able to save millions of pounds.
2. Content is still king
This data strategy is meant to provide something extra, targeted and/or new to your customer. There are three different ways this can be achieved:
– Pure content sources
This method involves capturing new and unusual data, as well as data which has not yet been captured – a business is then built around this data. Businesses such as Bloomberg, Morningstar and Uber have all used this method. Each used data to work out how to connect with their target audience and provide something their customers really wanted.
This is where data that customers want and need is built into a company’s range of existing products and services. A sat nav providing route guidance is the perfect example of this or a baby bottle that turns a different colour when the contents are the perfect temperature for the baby.
This method is where you help people to find the data they require. So you’re not in the business of creating new data but you’re helping to facilitate the exchange of information. An organisation such as Google is the perfect example of such a mediator.
3. Data-driven innovation
This third strategy details how you can gain an advantage over your competitors by using data and innovation. Using big data in this manner can literally be game changing for an organisation and is what keeps big data analysts and scientists all over the world chuckling with excitement. Data analysts will be constantly on the lookout for key insights, little (and big) discoveries that will help their company gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
A lot of big insurance companies will be following this strategy for risk analysis, as well as those in the human resources sector who will be using this strategy to find all the best talent. Even retailers will be making the most of data driven innovation in order to gain key insight into what to stock their shelves with and what to buy more of.
4. Be data-driven in every part of your business
This strategy has proven to be very successful (and profitable) and involves every part of your business; this means each and every group that is defined in your organogram should be using big data to make their decisions. In doing so, you will find better decisions are made because they are based on real-time, factual data.
However, take note that data can only move your business so far and these business decisions must not only be based on what the data is telling you but also on an individual or group’s intuition. Big data and the human mind, together, will make every business decision just that must better.
Having big data form an essential part of your business case may well be very new. It will therefore take some time to integrate this into each and every part of your business. But just think of the benefits it could bring your organisation – then you’ll surely be inspired to get to work!