Making Big Data Small & Useable
And it's Not Just for Digital & Online Businesses
A research study by Forrester revealed that only 12% percent of companies use data-driven intelligence to guide key business functions and corporate strategy. With so much talk about big data, this seems like a shockingly low figure. Companies already have access to a whopping amount of information, so why aren't they using it?
If you run your business online or manage an online business for someone else, you'll be well accustomed to the huge amounts of information available to you through tools like Google Analytics and in the large amount of information your site itself may record and store. In many offline businesses, there's also already a lot of digital data collected through sales and promotional channels. You may even be one of the numerous businesses still recording some of these things on actual paper – with customer surveys and questionnaires in store for example.
But big data brings a big problem. While many sources will tell you the value of having a lot of information, and some do go as far as to explain that you need not just to have it, but to use it, not enough sources seem to be telling you how to approach it and how to use it.
You're probably quite excited that it's going to help your business grow, and at the same time, spending too much time looking at it, possibly feeling overwhelmed by it, taking some new actions that may not even be based on or inspired by the data, and then going back to look at it to see if things are any better yet. Sound familiar? It's why data analysts and data scientists are becoming an increasingly important role in large organisation. They know how to use it, and that is its greatest value.
To make it small and useable for a small to mid sized business that doesn't have the resources for their own data scientist, you need to establish what your goals are. Not while looking at the data, but in looking at your business. You know what your USP is, you know who your target audience is and you probably know where you need to be improving. If you don't already have specific goals or targets in place, set some.
Now take a moment to consider what information you would need to aid practical steps toward these goals. If you're predominantly an online business, you may need to know what device your customers are logging onto your site from and what browser they're using. Or you may just need to know where they're based and if they're abandoning their cart the moment they are shown what postage costs will be. If you're a brick and mortar business, perhaps you need to know how many customers are in store at a certain time of the day on weekdays and how many at weekends. In looking at your top priority goals, you can begin to form a picture of the data that might help you reach them.
This is when you look at the data. At this point, you're not swamped by endless figures and facts. You're diving into the data smart and savvy, taking what you need and getting out and back to your business.
Finally, consider what you need to know to gauge if new steps taken worked or not and if further information can help you see what was going wrong and what was going right.
If you are an offline or bricks and mortar business, consider how you record and measure data also. There may not be as many easy tools available to you as to those operating mostly digitally but there are solutions available. This may be something as small and simple of counting things and putting them into a spreadsheet over time. Or it may be as wide in scope as a business process management methodology and BPMS like TPSoP®. TPSoP® let's you collect data on 'real life' operations, as well giving you alerts and reports based on priority areas specific to your business. This may be in a B2B or a B2C setting.
Find out more about TPSoP® and/or business process management services and how they can help you make the big data valuable and useable.