Ask any business owner or CEO what their company’s most important resources are, and most likely you’ll hear answers such as, “Our people,” or “Our office culture.” But there’s one resource that all companies have in spades but often remains untapped. If you want your business to leapfrog ahead of your competitors, then you should be maximizing this particular resource: data.
Your business collects data all the time; unfortunately, it often remains as idle potential. But if you look at successful companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google, you’ll realize that all are data-savvy. If you can harness the power of data, you’ll be able to run your company in a smarter, more efficient way. You’ll make better decisions, solve complex problems, monitor your company’s performance, improve your processes, and better understand your market and customers. No wonder business-savvy experts consider data to be as important a company resource as its people.
Related article: Why even small businesses need a data strategy
Of course, having data is one thing; it’s another to effectively use it. This is where data analytics comes in.
Data analysis is defined as the “process of inspecting, cleansing, transforming, and modeling data” to get useful information needed for making decisions. In other words, data analysis allows you to make better informed, data-driven decisions.
Gone are the days when so-called maverick businessmen rely solely on “gut feel” to make business decisions. Instead, you are able to make sound, strategic decisions based on solid data. You know what your customers like and don’t like about your services or your products. You can forecast which goods or services are more in demand at particular periods. And you are able to review your business processes and identify opportunities to improve efficiencies.
But to become data-driven, your organization should be able to solve several challenges that companies often face at the start:
- Data is often siloed in different departments and even in different systems.
- Sourcing and cleansing of data is often manual and prone to mistakes.
- Finding experts on data is difficult.
- Data complexity and privacy regulations are always increasing.
To overcome these challenges, here are some steps you can take to transform your business into a data-driven one:
Step #1: Align your data strategy with your business strategy
As defined in our earlier blog article, data strategy is “how a company plans to collect, store, manage, share, and use data in the most efficient way.” Efficient data should serve your business interests. After all, it doesn’t make sense for a shoe manufacturer to spend time and effort gathering data on their customers’ coffee drinking habits. The more relevant your data is to your business, the more valuable it is.
Your data strategy should also allow for various departments in your company to access, share, and use the data you have. This puts everyone on the same page.
And because of the strict regulations on data privacy, your data strategy should also take into account the compliance requirements of different legislations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
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Step #2: Invest in new data software and hardware
Imagine trying to navigate to an unknown destination using a wildly erroneous map — that’s what happens when your data isn’t consistent, accurate, and reliable. You need to invest in data tools to get quality data.
And when you have trusted data, you need tools, like data analytics software and artificial intelligence (AI) learning, to automate processes and speed up data analysis. Plus, invest in a powerful data platform that enables fast, easy access and sharing of data among disparate departments in your company.
Step #3: Create a company culture of data
Changing and creating a company’s culture takes time and effort. It begins with a leadership that’s dedicated to leveraging data analytics to enhance business efficiencies and effectiveness. It requires investing in smart, data-savvy talent. And it needs commitment from everyone in the company. Leadership by example is necessary; your staff will emulate you and your leadership team if they see that management makes decisions based on careful analysis of data.
The most valuable resources of a company are its people, its culture, and the data at its disposal. All three are fully engaged when you commit to becoming a data-driven company.
Want to be one? Our IT experts at Online Computers have the experience and the expertise to provide intelligent IT solutions with a devoted service touch to help your business grow. If your business is in or around Hanover, Morristown, or Madison, then you should get in touch with us.
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