Data. It’s a small word that has started a big trend. Just how important is it and what can you do with it?

Organizations have started collecting data mostly because they are told to and sometimes because their competitor does. Many miss the opportunity that data presents. An opportunity to enhance a business, to improve efficiency, reduce costs and open up new doors for a company. 

Data is really another asset for an organization. In order to get the most out of it, there needs to be a plan or strategy in place for its use. 

Research and big data

There have been a variety of reports that have examined how businesses are using data. The results often point to how these companies can use the data in better ways. These can include following consumer trends, creating better products and services and reducing costs. 

One such survey, done by New Vantage Partners (NVP), found that 92 percent of senior corporate c-executives said they are increasing their investment in big data and AI. NVP research also shows that when companies decide to invest in data they do so in a big way. There was a 15 percent increase in the number of businesses spending over $50 million since 2018. Yet, 77 percent of those surveyed noted their companies struggled with data initiatives.

Tips for using data

Before you can define a strategy you need to fully grasp the power of data. Most businesses are using data in a number of ways, including: 

  1. Support decision making: Businesses have to make decisions to stay relevant and competitive. Having data on hand to guide the process can give decision-makers confidence they are on the right track. 
  2. Follow customer trends: Sales departments are dependent upon tracking customer trends. Data has changed that process by allowing marketers to do more than just follow consumer patterns. They are now better positioned to predict buyer behavior. For example, when YouTube offers users suggestions on videos they may want to watch. 
  3. Create better services/products: Technological advances have led to consumers expecting smarter products and services. Customers want their needs to be anticipated and meet quickly. Missing the mark could cost a company a lot of money. Forbes reports that businesses lose about $75 billion each year because of bad customer service.  Using data to help understand consumers better gives organizations the upper hand on being able to respond to these demands. 
  4. Enhance productivity: Improving output while minimizing input is the bottom line for most businesses. To run a more streamlined process, leading to more revenue and fewer expenses is essential to stay competitive and productive in the marketplace. 
  5. Reduce costs: Using data to make production more efficient is one of the best ways to cut costs and boost revenues. Data can sometimes help an organization see where they are wasting resources. For example, data can be used to monitor the overuse of utilities in buildings and factories.
  6. Protection. Cybersecurity has become a real threat to both big and small organizations. However, through data tracking analytics, suspicious network activity can be caught before it becomes a serious problem.

Departments that use data

Every section of your organization or team can benefit from data. It has something to offer to every part of your business. That does not mean that piles of data should be dumped into every office. To be effective, the data needs to be divided and then distributed. Here are some of the ways that each department can use data.

  • Marketers – largely rely on demographic or consumer data to identify a target audience. They can also use other data to determine the best way to reach the audience. Tools like Google Analytics for website tracking, or a lead scoring tool, are useful for these teams.
  • Sales – tracking sales data can help your team know if they are meeting quotas or not. Detailed data on sales may even be able to identify where there are issues or problems that the team can focus on. Essentially, data could help an organization build and refine a solid sales team. There are many different Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools that assist with this. Many also include reporting on individual sales team member activities.
  • Human Resources – Some of the most innovative ways to use data is being done by HR departments. Using the information they are able to target quality hires and reduce turnover. It has been dubbed people analytics. One in four workers leaves their job, according to a recent survey, and 77 percent of those cases could be prevented. This makes data a powerful resource for an HR team. It’s tempting to put this information into a spreadsheet to get started quickly, but we know many of the issues that can be encountered when that system grows too large.

Determining your data strategy and what tools to choose can be slow, confusing and expensive. NBS Consulting works with you to design and execute a data strategy that realizes the true value of what your data can do. Email me at conor@nbs.consulting to set up a free consultation today.