Big data has become ubiquitous as companies large and small talk about the benefits and challenges of all the data they collect and process. Today’s businesses have more data than ever before – with almost 90% of the world’s data having been collected since 2014.
But while many businesses are beginning to rely on big data to help make business decisions, how many of them are truly able to derive actionable insights from the heaps of available data and use it to maximise profitability?
As per recent research, it seems 90% of the organisations are not even analysing their data using conventional database systems leaving a lot of hidden value unexplored!
Data is everywhere, but being able to use it effectively is what makes a business stand apart from the rest. If you are wondering how to make the most of all the data your company generates, then read on. We are here to provide a simple structure that will help you make data your competitive advantage.
Step 1: What’s the Goal?
The first and most crucial step of the process is to identify the company’s goals for using the data: what measures impact your company the most? Which derivative of the data can help you understand your business operations? What do you want from the data; finding new prospects, reducing expenses or improving customer satisfaction?
Knowing what you want to measure, and what insights you want to glean from that measurement can help you reverse-engineer the process and make the data work for you.
Step 2: Get it together
Data often lies in disparate systems. One system collects marketing data, another HR, another gathers customer service details, and a completely different system collects logistics data.
The challenge with siloed information is that it makes it nearly impossible to get the pieces of the puzzle to fit together – to get a broader view of the picture and then dive into granular details. Your business in such a case can identify shortcomings and gaps in the individual processes but is unable reveal the inefficiencies or opportunities that impact the business as a whole.
Step 2 hence is to get your data in one place and invest your efforts to design a data collection strategy. Make sure your data is normalized and consolidated into a single source of truth. Ideally, use the same analytics provider or storage system for all your valuable company and customer data. Most importantly, keep your data in-house!
Step 3: Keep Your Data Clean
The authenticity of your data is its true value. Hence, it’s essential to maintain clean data, frequently verify data validity, and check data collection accuracy. It’s a team sport! Ensure your colleagues are empowered and encouraged to keep the data they manage clean at all times.
It’s crucial to have confidence that the data is true and accurate. Each team contributing or overseeing the collection of data should maintain it.
Step 4: Generate insights and communicate
Data can tell companies a lot, but drawing intelligent insights depends upon the seeker. You should bring in the judgement of experience to bear on data and gain an understanding of the trends, patterns and unravel the ‘whys’ hidden in the data.
Analyses should include inputs from people who understand the company’s objectives, its goals, its customers, etc. In other words, you need to balance science and art when it comes to data mining – you need to add intuition gained through experience to numbers.
Step 5: Use the right tools
Big data is all about using the right tools to read into the data and gain from it. Over the past decade, there has been an influx of business intelligence and data analytics tools which have made big data accessible to everybody. These tools help companies, big or small, get insights faster and communicate better with the data.
There you go- use the insights generated, set an action place and stick to it till you reach your business goals. You are now a data-driven organisation, all set to make the cut.