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Don't Ignore The Data In Your Business

Jonathan Briggs, Founder, Hyper Island | May 18, 2016
Digital data is a huge opportunity but you need to learn to wrangle it into a useful stream of insights and actions.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

I'm drowning in digital data and so are you: my fitness apps generate enough for 15 minutes of reading each morning, my utility bills, credit cards and bank account have become full of numbers, charts and graphs and in my business life there is more data than I could possibly use in a day. Let's just ignore it shall we?

But contained within this data there are nuggets of gold. How should I change my daily routines to become fitter? How can I manage my home finances better? How can I improve the products and services of my business to better meet my customer needs?

Digital data is a huge opportunity but you need to learn to wrangle it into a useful stream of insights and actions.

Our data starting point in business should be to define and prioritise the goals of our business; new customers or markets, keeping existing customers happy, developing new products or services, attracting new staff or finding ways to tell stories to better connect customers with our brand. Focus your initial efforts on a single question and when the data is working hard for that business goal, add others.

I then recommended that you spend some time seeing what data is readily available inside and outside your business; sales data, marketing data, social data, competitor data, demand data and lots more. Often you'll find that the data collection processes are already in place or can be established quickly and easily. At other times you may need to do more or get some help to start the data flowing. Make this the goal of a small internal team and align them around the business goal you have chosen.

Take care not to pursue perfect information. In today's real-time world, good enough now is often better than perfect in six months time. There are plenty of tools to help you and many of them, such as Google Analytics, are free.

I often hear leaders of organisations say that data is one of the things they delegate to others. While specialists can make a huge difference to the effectiveness of a data strategy, it is my firm belief that the more important you are the more you need to be able to talk the same language as the experts and that means getting your hands dirty yourself.

If you do hire experts, expect more from them and see the insights they produce as driving specific changes to your business. Every data insight should be discussed. Decide what you need to do to take advantage of what has been found. If you are getting data but no insights, change the experts.

 

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