Having Big Data and lots of it is great, but it can also be messy. And it doesn’t really tell you anything by itself– you need to work with data in order to understand its value. It is a tremendous investment of time, resources, and money to implement, integrate, append and deliver data. Ask yourself how much time your company spends on actually making decisions based on analysis versus how much time and resources you can afford to dedicate to making this analysis.
But when analysis is done correctly, insights from data help you with a few things:
- Understand where you are.
- Make data-driven decisions and improve your current state. (This alone is scary enough– many companies do not use data for day-to-day operations or strategy planning. Reports keep piling up in the corner and wrong decisions are made.)
- Forecast and plan ahead.
A brief case study:
Company X holds a strategy meeting based on what the team FEELS or THINKS should be the next strategic steps. Oddly enough, right before that meeting they pay a significant amount of money for a report that analyzes their current position through different product categories on the market. They have not distributed the report and don’t use it for strategy planning purposes. As a result, next quarter strategy steps cover segments that have already been covered, and increase investment into products that have been selling well enough and already overreached goals– twice. So again money is wasted, market opportunity is missed, and revenue subsequently trends downward for the next 2 years.
- Understand where you are. Reporting gives you a perfect opportunity to learn more about your business before planning anything ahead. Start simple: look at how your products are performing against goals, by regions, segments, even salesperson. Understand what the main challenges are and reasons why these challenges occurred. If you’re already there go deeper: understand who your customers are, why they are buying your products or services, how much more are they willing to spend. Are they loyal, is there a return on activities you perform, what is the opportunity you are missing?
- Map your decision based on this knowledge and focus on fixing challenged areas and their effect on overall business. For example, if you target specific professional groups as your customers and analysis shows you have 99% coverage in one group and only 40% coverage in another, maybe a good strategy here is to keep focus on 99% but investigate what’s going on with that 40%? Get more data analysis, look at sales person performance, see competitor’s presence and products distribution, etc. Once you know why, or have a strong proved hypothesis, make an informed decision on how to increase coverage and bring more revenue from that sector. Or another scenario: what if that 99% don’t bring you revenue but cost you, and another 40% actually drive more than 50% of your total revenue? Do you know who your best customer is? If not, then how can you effectively plan and allocate budget?
- Forecasting. Once you become addicted to that omniscient feeling that data gives you by providing all this wonderful knowledge about your business and customers, the next step is to go ahead and use some extra, well-defined techniques to predict where your business could be in the future and how to get there.
There is a lot of data–and you hear that a lot– but there are also a lot of operations you can do with that data to actually bring that value everybody is talking about. Winsper knows how to build user-friendly, efficient data metrics and deliver business decision-oriented analysis for better strategy and day-to-day operations. Just ask us.