Data is the new oil
I have a crazy love & hate feeling towards businesses who don’t harness the power of their data, or even worse, don’t even record data! I love the opportunity to come in with fresh eyes and share tactics and strategy with clients, but I hate the fact they have had to manage the company blindly – in respect to the fact they may not be fully aware of the bigger picture by analysing enough data to make appropriate comparisons and benchmarks… I mean in those situations; things can be tough.
Many businesses don’t see the benefits of collecting data in vast amounts, some can’t analyse easily due to their data being in paper format only and some collect data but can’t truly utilise it because they don’t ask big enough questions or look properly at the data. The cream of the crop though, those who know what they’re looking for and why they’re looking for it. Many of these companies are large, but their lessons should be learned and implemented early. With the ability to control costs easier while understanding all aspects of what influences those costs or looking at performance metrics for teams in a production environment at a glance. Data analytics should be the superpower all CEOs and management staff wish they had.
We should strive to constantly learn
Unlocking the power of data can be the difference between make or break for some companies, so it’s important to understand what you can learn through your data and why that’s important. At the end of the day, these methods are proven and for some businesses could explain why they have issues that are not fully visible. Data is available at every process step through internal practices and your customers’ journey. Not collecting it for the purposes of understanding it is a missed opportunity. With enough data though – which doesn’t have to be millions of data points btw – we can start to turn that data into information. and information is something we can make decisions based on! Other ways analytics could improve your business include:
- Fully gauge client/customer perception – Being able to see the nitty-gritty on what your customers do and don’t like could be the difference between making an excellent decision and shooting yourself in the foot. If knowing has only ever been half the battle, then companies who can’t prove they know are defenceless.
- Understanding where the money goes – Spending control is one of the burdens of most companies, understanding what you buy and how well you use it can be the first big step to removing the “fat” from processes. After all, having more money in the bank means you can do more value add activities that increase revenue.
- Getting to grips with operational performance – The biggest cost in most management departments eyes is labour, so when it comes to raising targets and pushing the workforce, one of the first questions to ask should be “are we as efficient as we could be? and to truly answer that you will need data and some proper process analysis and cycle times recorded – this is essentially useful for continuous improvement which relies heavily on data being collected to validate decisions.
- Adjusting your angle to challenge competitors – Implementing analysis and making decisions based on facts sounds like common sense, but in practice, fully harnessing this and understanding it takes time; It is a journey. Regardless, starting to talk about your data and interrogating it is what could lead to you to have an advantage over your competitors.
- Learning the practices of proactivity – Once you understand the data you’re interpreting, the aim becomes to predicts and look ahead. Knowing when something will run out, a product rises in popularity or recognising trends in rising turn around times. These predictions should be tested in a model before being used though
Technology stops for no one
We have previously written about the benefits of data analysis, and we briefly touch on predictive and prescriptive data and how they play into the timeline of data analytics. This is relevant to explaining where most companies sit in terms of their data utilisation. Not every company needs to use all steps of the data analysis timeline, typically the bigger the organisation, the greater the need for answers provided by data. Most companies should be in the habit of reporting, in the eyes of growing companies though, you should dress for the job you want, not the job you’ve got! Data analysis is a resource, a tool and it can provide nearly all of the answers to helping you improve the issues your teams face.
When it comes to getting smarter results from your data, the pathway most businesses will currently consider is business intelligence (BI) with the use of smart solutions to track lots and lots of data. Though not all companies churn out enough data to fully benefit from the process of implementing BI.
What we should take from the wave of large companies harnessing big data and business intelligence is the power that analytics as a foundation to business strategy pays off. After all these solutions exist to support businesses who have made the whole data timeline journey. You can only fully predict and understand your business by looking under the hood and seeing what makes each bit tick. The longer t takes you to get on the data journey, the worse off you may be in this day and age.
Don’t Underestimate Data
Having the foresight to see how asking the right questions and having the controls in place to access the data that’s going to provide the answers to that question, could be what your organisation is missing. Its important at this point to spare a thought for businesses who already use analytics, are they analysing data to answer the right questions? Sometimes it’s just as important to ask yourself that once in a while, people diving through crap data for crap answers is a waste!
Truth be told, I think between this article and the one I’ve now pushed you to read twice (consider this a third if you ignored the first two!) that you get the picture. Data is the blood of your business, everyone should be running various tests on that blood to make sure the business is healthy! only by looking at it and getting into the details can we truly see where things are going wrong. and from becoming a master of issue identification the next step is to master the actions need to resolve the issue. It’s this data-driven behaviour that leads to becoming proactive and prolonging the business.
I advise everyone to think about the data they encounter and ask if it answers all the questions they have. Pushing forward with data and harvesting the correct information from it is essential to building strong companies in the 21st century, part of this data explosion is caused by the increased use of technology, part of it is because we want to validate. Whatever your reason, we should all be invested in our data!