How to Use Data To Improve Business Performance
If you are an avid reader of business-related articles, you must have noticed a pattern: everyone talks about the importance of data to run a modern – day business.
Data analysis is nothing new; even companies in the past relied on various patterns and conclusions they came up with when examining collected data on their operations and environment.
The difference is, back in the days, the analysis was done manually, while now, big data and analytics software systems have taken over the stage.
Currently, we have arrived at that point where the question is not whether a business should use big data, but how fast one does it to gain a competitive edge and achieve agility.
3 Steps to Using Data to Amplify Your Business Results
STEP 1. Identify What You Are Trying to Achieve
With so many tools able to analyse large quantities of data fast, the challenge is not the data collection or the analysis. Instead, the real challenge is the focus or understanding the business issues that a company can try to solve using these conclusions.
That is what the first step is all about: understanding your strategic objectives and immediate goals so that you can identify the questions you need to find the answers to in order to achieve your goals and overcome any issues you might be facing.
STEP 2. Collect the Data
Now that you understand what kind of data you need to focus on gathering to achieve what you plan to achieve, it is time you actually go ahead and collect that data. Chances are, you already have some pieces of data available to you, so the smart thing to do would be to identify what you already have before setting up the processes to collect the rest of the data.
Also, before you actually put the entire data collection process into action, evaluate whether your “investment” is worth it. Data collection and analysis is investment just like any other, so you should evaluate whether it is justified the same way you would do to any other type of expense. Weigh the costs against the benefits that this collected data would bring to your business, and decide whether it is worth investing in it, or you should focus on another goal or issue instead.
STEP 3. Analyse the Data
Raw data is not of value – it is the insights that you get after analysing the data that are able to enable considerable business improvements. Of course, even when analysed, data will not have any power until it is presented to the right people in the company and actually transformed from just a piece of information to action.
How Better Use Of Data Drives Business Performance
Below we list a couple of ways businesses can leverage the power of data to win over various business challenges.
Improve Supply Chain Efficiency
Data can help companies save big bucks by creating an efficient supply chain. Many companies suffer various inefficiencies of lack of collaboration and communication and untimely transfer of information. Moreover, delays that happen because of inefficient operations create all kinds of unnecessary costs and missed opportunities for businesses.
For example, data allows businesses to predict demand and plan the deployment of people and resources to meet the demand better and fulfill their orders on time and budget. Data also can help businesses cut down storage and transportation costs.
Improve Customer Experience through Real – Time Reporting
Data empowers real – time reporting, and thus enables customer support and increases customer satisfaction. Using real- time reporting, companies’ support service agents are able to clearly understand any issues and inquiries the customers might have, and quickly address these issues, whilst minimising call times and improving customer experience and satisfaction.
Improve Future Results By Leveraging the Power of Historical Data
Real-time reporting is great and extremely useful for immediate interactions, but it is historical data that can help you develop business predictions based on the previous behaviours of your customers.
Depending on your business, you can use the knowledge you get from analysing historical data to understand when your clients are online, to what particular triggers they respond to, what kind of offers gain their attention, what type of website design drives more traffic, find out the kinds of emails that get higher open and response rates and so on.
Historical data gives you a way to see what worked in the past, and what did not and provide you with ideas to improve your products, services and approach to attracting and nurturing leads.
Improve Customer Satisfaction Through Better Supplier Management
Data provides businesses with the opportunity to carefully pick their business partners and suppliers. Analysing the supplier performance, businesses can choose the most suitable supplier for their needs, at the most affordable rate. This can, of course, affect the company’s bottom line by cutting down costs linked to suppliers and ensuring that consumers get high – quality products they are satisfied with.
Improve Advertisement Results
Another way data can assist you in driving down your company’s costs is by amplifying your advertising efforts. A/B testing is a randomised experiment during which you test several variations and analyse which of those alternatives yields better results. A/B testing is done on landing pages, emails, pop – ups and probably anything else you can think of.
By employing A/B tests, companies gain insight into their target customers’ preferences, and can fine – tune their advertisements and campaigns to optimise them for maximum results.
This way, companies can indirectly drive advertisement costs down, by getting the best return on investment for their ad spend.
Improve Your Offerings Through Market Analysis
Selling a product at this moment in business history means that you are competing with thousands of other competitors.
To be successful, you have to understand a lot of things that define your industry: what it is that customers are currently looking for, what types of products gain the most traction, which pain points your target audiences looks to solve, what kinds of commercials work best for a particular industry or market segment, and you also have to find a hole in the market that you might be able to fill.
Relying on data to develop your products and services will give you a much higher chance of making it big than shooting in the dark. Big data will accelerate innovation and give you what you need to develop products that maximise customer satisfaction.
There is no need to work harder when you can work smarter – and achieve better results with less effort and lower expenses.
Utilizing insights from big data into your business will help you cut down costs, boost your traffic, improve customer satisfaction, and improve decision making.
Of course, to be able to take advantage of data and the insights that result from its analysis, companies need to foster a culture that supports data analysis and data – driven decisions.
It is important that this kind of behaviour and understanding is implemented into the mentality of not only a single team of data scientists, but each staff member, most importantly – the top management teams.
Author Bio: Danielle Canstello is part of the content marketing team at Pyramid Analytics. They provide enterprise level analytics and BI software. In her spare time, she writes around the web to spread her knowledge of the marketing, business intelligence and analytics industries.