5 Mantras That Can Drive Organizations Towards Becoming More Data-driven

Ilangovel Thulasimani, Co-Founder & CTO, Practically

Data-driven companies are flourishing of late and there is a good reason for it. Data has emerged as an invaluable asset that can be vital in key strategic decision-making across all verticals of an organization. What it really means is that data must be accessible to every entity within the organization to help make decisions that fetch extraordinary results.

One way to scale up an organization in the present times is by collating the data from different sources like demographic data, surveys, consumer behavior and purchase patterns; and analyzing the data to derive actionable insights for business development. This is in contrast to decision making based on heuristics or instincts. Data helps enhance the overall performance of the organization and helps in staying ahead of the curve. It not only aids in decision making but also helps monitor the progress and make any course corrections as needed.

If you are not data-driven yet, it means data and analytics are yet not the core of your business strategy or processes. What should you do to be on par with the rest of the industries to be data-driven? Here’s more:

Connect with customers to make informed decisions

Consumer feedback or observing their consumption patterns can help you understand their needs and preferences, which is extremely important for your business. For instance, e-commerce giant, Amazon gathers their customers’ preferences and browsing history and later caters to them through targeted ads, product showcase etc, generating 35% of company revenue. You can either collect data via indirectly observing your customers or directly conducting a survey and rolling out test-runs of your product to understand where they are at. Either way they will provide you with insights that will help take your product in the direction of growth. Unless you can understand your customers' expectations, you may never be able to address their pain points. 

Work with Data Analysts

Data analysts provide the support to process the data and derive the insights that matter to the business. Most organizations today employ a team of data analysts to automate processing of data from collection to reporting key trends to decision makers. Dealing with huge volumes of data efficiently and expertise in identifying meaningful data signals from noise forms an important part of the data driven approach. You can work with an internal or an external set up. Some specialized platforms like the Customer Data Platforms or CDPs help translate the data without having to put much effort as they provide some off-the-shelf solutions for standard problems. The challenge is to have this churned out timely amidst heavy market competition. Before shifting your tactics, you will need to sit with an expert and create a plan that is to a large extent foolproof and then take a calculated risk of introducing something new or altering your existing platform. 

Ability to forecast and plan better

Forecasting business outcomes or revenue via predictive analytics will simplify the math for many organizations. Applying Predictive Analytics based on the historical business data with the algorithmic prediction of an outcome can be largely beneficial. There are software helping in predictive analytics that can help save on businesses up to 5% or generate 70% more revenues annually provided you have reliable data. The overall market study combined with the forward looking nature of tech can help generate a revenue goal that is just right and not too ambitious or below the line. Used appropriately, these tools can help evaluate alternative business plans and strategies, like timing a new product launch or geographic expansions.

Democratizing data access across the organization

Data has a role to play in monitoring progress and making well-informed timely decisions at various levels of an organization. Accordingly, appropriate data access must be enabled for all within an organization in a secured way. Different teams may need different perspectives of the same data. In doing so, we not only make the data accessible but help with the ease of use in very layman’s terms irrespective of whether one is a data expert or not. The user must also be able to experiment with the data to figure out the solutions to their specific problems. Democratization of data also makes it transparent, allows trust among the employees as they can share insights, and allows them to better understand the rationale behind some key decisions. 

Bringing together the right tools

Since the volume and transformations of data only keeps increasing as the organization scales, the underlying technology should be scalable and extensible to evolve with the business without adding further complexity or cost. Building and managing such a robust data analytics platform could be overwhelming. However, most organizations build it one step at a time but the key is to recognize the importance of it and start somewhere. Quite a few companies might be overpaying for the analytics tool and not have the competencies to use them. One does not need a horde of the data ecosystem to start with. Ensure that you make the data analytics solutions simple and easy to use.

To sum it up, data is the fuel that will propel an organization in the right direction provided it is used timely with the right tools and under expert guidance for overall internal and external growth. Modern technologies are making it easier for organizations of all sizes to embark on and manage their data driven journey.