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Why data is important - no matter the size of your business

In companies both big and small, data is starting to play an all-important role. Businesses have noted its’ value and have started to think about how it can be used for better decision making, it’s time you joined the trend.

Data is one of your greatest business assets alongside your products, services, intellectual property and people. But in order to benefit from the value of this data you need to have the right data strategy in place.

Your data strategy can help you determine your top data priorities and create a course which will enable you to reach your end goal. With technology developing so fast, businesses are struggling to keep up and don’t realise their full data strategy potential.

So, what is it that your business is trying to achieve and how can data help you get there?

Firstly, let’s establish what a data strategy is;

  • A good data strategy is an organisational data roadmap and approach that:

  • Defines common processes and procedures

  • Establishes ways to manage, analyse and utilise data

  • Creates clarity and connections across the company

Data is meaningless without a comprehensive data strategy to consistently leverage it into actionable insights. Using data effectively can help businesses streamline processes and create methods to ensure effective growth. The future of business will belong to the companies who can effectively harness their own proprietary data.

There are a few key ways in which businesses use data to benefit their overall business strategy;

  • Understanding customer trends

  • Providing smarter services and products

  • Improving internal operations and processes

  • Informed decision making

  • Create additional revenue

Understanding customer trends

Understanding customer needs is a key factor in most sales and marketing activity of any business. The more you understand about your customer the more able you are to serve their needs.

Previously, businesses have been able to work this out by accounting for customers’ previous purchase of products and services – however businesses are now becoming more predictive and anticipating their customer needs. A classic example of this is Netflix, recommending which programmes you will binge next based on your viewing preferences.

Providing smarter services and products

A benefit to understanding your customer and your business market is being able to provide them with exactly what they want. In particular, smarter products and services which in turn react to each of your customers unique needs.

The Nest smart Thermostat is a brilliant example of this. This device monitors activity within your home and detects behaviour patterns. Then, based on the information it collects about how you use your home, the thermostat adjusts the temperature to keep to keep your home comfortable, without wasting energy where it’s not needed.

This trend towards smarter products is becoming increasingly relevant in business and it’s all possible thanks to advancing computer power and the connectivity offered by modern devices and gadgets.

Improving internal operations and processes

When you run a business, you are consistently working towards becoming more efficient and streamlining your operations in a cost-effective manner. Thanks to data, it is easier than ever to improve upon these aspects of your business.

Data can be used in different ways for different types of companies, for example, in an industrial business, theproduction lines, vehicles, and tools can be made ‘smart’ meaning they can continuously report on their status. This, in turn, means the manufacturing process can be monitored and tweaked to enable optimum performance. These ‘smart’ tools can also be used to reduce costly machine downtime as they anticipate when parts need replacing before they break down – also known as predictive maintenance.

Other companies may use data to optimise stock control, anticipate and prevent service outages, optimise delivery routes as well as automate repetitive and mundane processes.

Informed decision making

There are many ways in which data can be used to fuel better decision making within your business. Running a successful business is all about making the best decision in order for you to reach your goals.

Data can be used to help every business function, department and team make better decision. For example, in HR, data is being used to calculate the likelihood of employees leaving the business, which helps HR and managers better engage key talent and reduce employee turnover.

Using data effectively is what will drive a business forward. For example, assume that a mobile phone manufacturer uses components made in China. If tariffs are put on that line of components, the costs of that phone cost will rise.

Understanding the effects of that data and what it does to the business owner’s profit margins is imperative in developing a strategy that keeps the company profitable. As a result, the business leader may seek a new resource for the components, which are less likely affected by tariffs.

Create additional revenue

Using data to make smarter decisions for your business will have a positive effect on your bottom line. This link between data and your bottom line can be much more direct, as data can be monetized to increase revenue and create a new income stream.

Monetizing data can happen in many forms, for example your business could bring in new, data-driven products or services to market. Or it may also involve selling data to customers through optimised services, e.g. Facebook’s data-driven advertising offer.

Data can make your business money but it can also save your business money. A great example of this, lies in fraud detection. Data-driven fraud detection technology helps to identify and prevent fraudulent transactions in real time saving thousands.

Having a data strategy could be vital to the progression and day to day running of your business. Small or large at Synergise BI we can help you to determine how data can help your business. If you’ve not already thought about your 2019 strategy then it’s not too late. Contact us today for a consultation.

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