In this era of digital transformation, data-driven businesses have increasingly excelled in almost every market. Enormous amounts of data can fuel powerful, fact-based decisions and insightful problem-solving capabilities - and these are things that we need now more than ever.

At its best, a data-driven business can inform leaders making decisions on everything from strategic and financial decisions to finding creative solutions to complex problems. Data-driven businesses have the foresight that allows them to manage supply chains, focus on customer support and protect the needs of employees with greater success.

Yet for countless business leaders, the reality is that their companies still lack a solid culture built on data and sharing insights. So why is being a data-driven business so hard? For many organizations, this has to do more with company culture than technical issues. So, we're taking a look at why data is at the crux of all your business solutions, how you can shift your company culture's approach to data, and where data-driven business can take you. 

It starts with solid data

The customer engagement journey is crucial to many industries. The more you can personalize their profile, fill in the holes with clean data, and have a clearer picture of who your customer is - the better you can provide them with a more customized experience and relatable product solutions.

A customer profile might include details like a name, address, and transaction history. But how are you making sure this data is giving you a complete and consistent picture? Are you asking for a full first and last name, or just a first initial and last name? What do you do if the addresses don't match? How are you going to secure this data and address privacy standards? Do you have a plan to buy third-party data to augment or enhance your data? 

These types of questions are critical for any business leader, including industries like transportation, agriculture, retail, distribution, and medicine. For example, it's vital for the healthcare industry to deliver efficient care outside of the traditional in-person methods and having correct electronic health records (EHR) is one way to enhance virtual care. This complex data can range from patient demographics to highly specialized information. This is just one example, but the reality for any industry is that no matter how specialized their software is, if they don't have solid data - it will not work to its full potential.

Culture in a data-driven business

Who owns your data? For many business leaders, a common answer to this question can be the company or their IT department. But who actually owns, manages and ensures that the data you are collecting is complete and consistent, and that progress is actually being made? Harvard Business Review found that company culture is actually the biggest obstacle to creating data-based businesses. 

When you educate staff from the top down to view data as an asset, you ensure that they have an active role in creating successful processes. If an employee receives a customer complaint but doesn't have any way to track it, then this important piece of information gets lost. If they have the training and the data systems in place to record and share it up the proper channels, then this interaction now becomes another way to capture your customer experience through data.

A data-driven culture is also better equipped to deal with incorrect information. If you see something wrong with your data, there needs to be processes in place on how to correct it. If no one in your organization cares about data - then it's not going to be a priority. By rooting company decisions in data, and empowering employees to wrestle it through their own work, you're taking the crucial first steps to setting yourself up for a proper data-driven business.

Why creativity counts with data

Ultimately, data isn't very meaningful unless you have context. Each year, after we stuff ourselves with turkey, and lounge cozily in our favorite chair, the online holiday spending season kicks off with Cyber Monday. Around the world, shoppers rack up billions in revenue for much-anticipated deals and free shipping for 4K TV's, high-powered laptops, flashy smartphones and all hottest items of the year. 

This online shopping-driven holiday is a relatively new trend that more and more retailers are capitalizing on every year. Data makes it possible to anticipate these spikes, and it creates new opportunities like cross-business collaborations and creative ways to capitalize on obtaining data.

LEGO is an example of a company that has found creative ways to get more data from their customers. LEGO VIP is a free rewards program that gives members monthly promotions, special discounts, and early access to exclusively licensed sets like Harry Potter or Batman. Customers are so enticed that they are willing to exchange their data to be part of this incredible club that offers them real value. You can also see this model work for freemium games, where users are able to play the latest apps in exchange for their data. Always look for ways to creatively enhance your data making it relevant and accurate.

Data-driven businesses reinvent and adjust more easily

For many business leaders and organizations, the way we value data has room to grow. When business leaders embed data into their company culture and make it a priority, they set themselves up for success. Making decisions based on clean and accurate data results in providing solutions that propel businesses ahead of their competition.

More complex problems are on the horizon. Investing in a data-driven business ensures you have the foresight and creative solutions to pivot and grow. Leaders who learn these lessons and who use these tools to stay ahead of the competition will see that they have the potential to not only rise to any challenge but conquer them. Ongoing advances in technology will allow you to continue to build on your strong data foundations and add vast amounts of information using Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT) device data, opening up possibilities for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).

Successful organizations will continue to be built on data. If you're not sure how to get started, or you've hit some hurdles on your journey, contact us today.

Monday, November 16, 2020 By dpiva