Five Ways to Improve Your Company’s Data-Driven Capabilities

Data is one of a company’s most valuable, but underused business assets. Regardless of quantity, data holds the truth to performance and can reveal it at micro-granular levels. When connected, data can answer key business questions that no gut feeling could. Only with data can you understand where your customers come from, what they’re interested in and why they sometimes disengage.

Companies often have more data than they know, but it’s spread across different platforms and channels — siloed ecosystems that only a few have access to. To make the information meaningful, you need to bring it all together; without context, it’s meaningless.

It’s easy to talk about how powerful data can be, but it’s another thing to make it work within your organization. Companies are investing in understanding how to leverage data for more personalized experiences and better customer intelligence. However, there are some roadblocks that can stand in the way to truly harnessing the power of data.

  • Integration of Disparate Tools: Different departments within an organization use different platforms to complete daily tasks. These platforms collect different sets of data that could be useful in other departments. Most platforms are not integrated to share data because it wasn’t an initial requirement of the system when it was implemented. Without connected platforms, you’ll still have a view of your customers, but it will have multiple blind spots, which could mean missed opportunities.
  • Analytics Adoption: It’s one thing to produce reports with insights, but it’s quite another to have your teams take action on those insights. Typically, this issue arises when the insight isn’t actionable, the dashboards are too complex or reports are presented just because. The report’s audience is responsible for letting the analysts know if a report is too simple or too complex for them to take action on. The better aligned the insights are to the needs of that department, the easier that important data can be adopted.

Here are five tips to overcome these roadblocks and improve analytical insights, allowing your organization to become more data-driven:

Before you can tell if you’re collecting garbage or gold, you need to define your key business questions and how they relate to your objectives. There are many ways to leverage data, but to transform it into meaningful insight, the first and most crucial step is asking questions.

Can you get answers to those questions from your current data collection and analysis platforms? Are there any missing data points that would help better answer your questions, and do other systems need to be integrated? Look at current tagging structures to see if other valuable data needs to be collected.

There are common questions that you need to answer weekly, monthly or quarterly. These questions are the ones being asked from the executive suite and make up 80 percent of the insight needs. Since these don’t change, figure out how to display the data that answers those questions in automated dashboards. This will free up your analyst’s time for the remaining 20 percent of questions to provide deeper insights and identify key areas of opportunity.

The most powerful insights come from unbiased digging where data tells the story. You’ll always be able to manipulate your insights when looking to prove your hypothesis correct. Yet, looking for the opposite will generate insights often overlooked. This tends to happen when the data being examined focuses only on the areas of success. It’s more difficult to significantly influence areas that are succeeding, while areas that aren’t performing as well can have a greater effect if acted on. Look at both ends of the spectrum to create the biggest impact on your organization.

Will visuals make the data more understandable, or will guidance from written insights work better? Determining the right format will help your team leverage the insights and put them into action. In the beginning, reports using some visuals with lots of written insights will help create a better understanding of how data plays into daily deliverables. As your team’s analytical maturity scales, the format that works best should change to focus on more visual data stories since they’re more in tune to what the information means.

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These five tips will allow you to create a more focused approach to analytics. They’ll help you understand which channels provide the highest return and who your customers are, and enable your organization to make quick decisions that impact your customer experience.

With so much available data, it’s easy to get lost without clear direction. To provide powerful insights, analysts need their attention focused on critical business questions to determine patterns, trends and impacts. Following these guidelines will allow you to gain value from data and create the foundation to becoming a data-driven organization.

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