Posted 29 July 2016
Data is one of the most useful assets a company can have in the 21st century. It holds the key to understanding customers and giving them exactly what they want, which in turn can produce a cyclic motion of demands being met, and happy customers coming back for more. But companies are drowning in data, unsure of what to do with it or how it can help them.
In spite of data’s almost magical properties, it’s down to quality, not quantity. It is absolutely no good having data of all kinds piling up and trying to figure out where to start without getting a good understanding of how best to use it, and this is why many companies have data up to their ears that they can make neither head nor tails of.
What data can do for you
Data, in a nutshell, is a record of everybody’s habits and interests, and can identify everything from favourite colours and fabrics to preferred film genres and worldwide cuisines. Once such knowledge has been obtained, it is stored for future reference. For instance, if you know from previous orders that your customer is a size Medium, likes classic rock and frequents the summer festival circuit, it’s worth showing them those Rolling Stones t-shirts that have just gone into the sale. Customers recognise the quality of service they receive, and are more likely to return.
Basically, data is a goldmine for companies as it gives them a chance to refine their products and services to the specific needs of their clients. This in turn keeps a company competitive.
However, data soon piles up, and it costs money to store and examine, so this expense should be used to its fullest potential.
How to sharpen your insight
The proper use of data is no mean feat, and cannot be incorporated into a business strategy overnight. The reality is that many companies were just not prepared for the considerable undertaking that data presented them with. So what are the problems companies are facing, and how can they be resolved?
Poor data quality – as previously mentioned, quality is the key. Depending on your type of company, there will be certain strains of data that are far more relevant to your business and customer than others, so identify them and start weeding through.
Real-time processing – analysing data manually is simply far too time-consuming to be an option, and can cause a lag in the translation of data to useable information.
Lack of processing skill – given the highly technical modern methods of processing data, it takes specific skills. If this involves additional training or taking on a Chief Information Officer, it will soon be worthwhile when the data converts to sales.
Lack of data culture – the introduction of data into the company culture is essential to its success. Ensuring everybody understands what data does for the business and why it is so important will make for much more successful adoption.
As we have seen, data is a big opportunity for big business. Once data has been incorporated into the business culture, it will take off and guide your company to the next stage in success.