20.01.2023 09:30

How to Use Data to Grow Your Business

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Data is the foundation of today’s business world. Each day, organizations get to interact with data concerning customers, vendors, security, and even employees. Sadly, 73% of it goes to waste. Even worse, the remaining 27% of data which is analyzed doesn't always result in quality insights. A good chunk of companies still struggles in identifying the best data to draw their insights.

Luckily, it is those businesses that can separate the wheat from the chaff in their data mines that can harness the power that lies in data analytics. When used wisely, data can be a driver of change in your business, both by unveiling opportunities and pointing out problematic areas. This trickles down to how you collect and analyze your data.

There's a saying: data is the new gold. And, it goes without saying that your business is going to be disrupted by the hottest data and analytics trends. Here is how data can revolutionize your business:

#1 Create a Great Customer Journey

Create Customer Journey CX ExperienceData is invaluable in identifying the pain point of your target audience, and in defining them in the first place. When used to create a buyer persona, it can help you align your product and service specifications with what the market demands. In fact, data analytics can unearth new and disruptive opportunities in your industry that are right under your nose.

For instance, learning the networking gap of the dating world led to the development of dating sites. By gathering data on the opinion of customers, you can not only make your business reliable and convenient to them but also increase your market share.

Ideally, you should concentrate on online reviews and customer feedback to identify what your business needs to improve. Additionally, aspects such as optimizing your business for an online audience can help you tap into a new demographic of consumers.
The higher the quality of data you can collect, the easier it will be to understand the typical customer and cater for their needs.

#2 Cybersecurity

Cyber threats have become a norm in today's world to the point that investors and customers are only interested in doing business with companies with healthy security postures. You want to protect your data as your business grows. Third-party stakeholders aside, experiencing a cyber-attack can be detrimental to your business both in terms of reputation and daily operations. Luckily, building a strong cybersecurity posture can be supported by great data analytics practices.

You will regularly need to know the chances of a cyber-attack happening and the impact that it can have on your business. More importantly, you need to assess the effectiveness of the different cybersecurity strategies in protecting your data and their projected ROI. Once you invest in security tools, it is wise also to have a team of professional analyze the alerts they generate. The power to differentiate between false positive and positive alerts can be an x-factor in detecting security risks.

With excellent analytics practices in place, predictive analysis becomes easy too as you begin to identify patterns in your historical security data. Lastly, data analytics in security can help avoid PR nightmares. There are many benefits of cloud computing for businesses and improve your cyber security is one of them. If you have data as a cushion, you can calm key stakeholders in times of a crisis.

#3 Talent Acquisition and Retention

Talent Acquisition Retention Recruiting Recruitment HiringIt is more expensive to attract talent than to keep current employees. It becomes even more costly if you are looking for nothing short of quality talent. Different jobs call for a customized approach and finding someone whose skills rhymes with both business operations and customer expectations can be invaluable.

Furthermore, building a strong workforce can cement your businesses' image in the public's eye. Well, attracting the right talent starts with understanding what to look for. Data analytics can help assess the atmosphere of the current job market in comparison to your unfilled job positions. It becomes even more beneficial in talent retention.

For instance, offering a great work-life balance can help retain millennials who crave building a life outside the workplace. As the Gen Z group of employees enters the workplace, understanding the data about what makes them tick can be pivotal. By embracing data analytics to understand the different employee demographics, you can refine your employee scheduling, rewarding, and engagement practices to resonate with your workforce.

#4 Gaining a Competitive Edge

Price wars can quickly happen in the business world. One business tries to lower its prices to push another one out of business, only for the competition to do the same. However, this archaic form of competition often results with one business' death and the other barely managing to remain profitable.

Data can help you remain relevant and build a competitive edge without using such an approach. It helps unveil details such as who your competition is targeting, who they are not, and how to outsmart them. The more you can understand your competition, the better your market domination strategies can become.

With enough emphasis on data, you can identify loopholes in the current market and give rise to disruptive innovations. When trying to be competitive, data can also help differentiate hype from wise investments through both assessing ROI and identifying patterns.

#5 Lean Management

Lean ManagementWaste can be quite detrimental to your customer journey. For instance, having long lead times can make customers quite impatient. Additionally, it results in unnecessary expenses during times of limited resources.

In fact, in the world of risk management, investing in the wrong security tools can leave critical areas of your business vulnerable despite having maxed out your budget.

Data analytics helps to identify such wasteful parts of your business. Remember that lean management is not a one-time investment, and you will continuously need to update your practices to eliminate waste. Lean management can be a solution for reducing product prices without sacrificing profitability.

The trick lies in collecting enough data to paint a picture of your wasteful business operations. Additionally, you will also have to implement strong change management practices to ensure that employees can adjust to tweaks in your daily activities with little friction.

#6 Vendor Management

Management Lean Vendor Supplier Demand EmployeesYour business is only as good as your vendors. Having vendors who delay in deliveries and offer subpar products can be the death of your business. With enough data, you can easily compare vendors and identify who will provide the best quality for your business.

This trickles to the pricing of the vendors. For instance, two cloud vendors might price their product in the same way but have gapping differences in what they offer. Data can help identify this. On the other hand, you might also need to combine vendor services to enjoy optimal product pricing, security, and functionality.

In most cases, identifying the right way to mix such vendor services can be tricky without access to enough data. No matter the situation, the goal should be to get the most bang for your buck.

#7 Demand Management

To remain relevant, your daily operations need to be aligned with the ebbs and flows of demand. A good example would be a restaurant during the offseason. When fewer customers are coming in, the management needs to support its current workforce despite the drop in cash flows. Once the peak season arrives, the business also needs to improve the effectiveness of the workforce while attending to customers.

With both historical and forecasted data, you can quickly gauge your current and future demand landscape. You can draw quality insights from it, such as outsourcing tasks, hiring temporary employees, or even upgrading your existing operations. More importantly, it can be easy to predict when customers are unhappy and turn things around.

The Power of Optimizing Data Usage

Your data analytics efforts will only be as good as the quality of your data and the ease of access. Make it your goal to transform, merge, cleanse, and standardize data to increase its usefulness to the decision maker. Ideally, you should establish rules and policies concerning data management on how your staff can use and store the collected data.

These policies should include things that are allowed and forbidden when interacting with the data. Your staff should also understand the best practices for indexing the stored data to increase the efficiency of your databases.

Since there are ways for storing semi-structured and unstructured data in this day and age, there should be no excuse for failing to store transactional, behavioral, and security data. Building an accountability culture can be a sure way to increase the effectiveness of data analysis and collection. It will eliminate negligence among your workforce.

Scale Your Data Management Strategies as the Business Grows

As your business grows, yesterday's data management practices will not suffice in upholding tomorrow's standards. For instance, you will require more space to store customer, security, and even operational data after growth. On the other hand, your current security tools might need to be customized to incorporate any new data protection needs that arise.

Scale Your Data Management Strategies as the Business GrowsMore importantly, you will have to concentrate more on data security as you look to improve your security practices to reduce the chances of data theft. In return, you can avoid costly business disasters. Your scalability moves should be addressed in advance before purchasing data management tools to make any future transitions smooth.

Otherwise, you might have to completely revamp your entire system and purchase new tools to cater for the changes. Other than the extra costs, the time it takes to move data around from your current systems to new ones can be unpredictable. Losing critical data in the process can also be quite straightforward. Ideally, you should identify the best method for scaling your data needs between upward or outward scaling.

Upward Vs. Outward Scaling

Upward Scaling

Both terms will typically refer to the use of servers among other data center or cloud resources. With upward scaling (vertical), you will need to improve the hardware capabilities of your current servers. You or your cloud vendor could increase the memory and even processing power of the existing servers to help deal with any data management deficits created by business growth.

This method helps save cash and time that could have otherwise been used in investing in entirely new hardware. However, the technique has a glass ceiling, and there is only so much you can do to increase the capacity of your data management system.

Scaling Out

Scaling out- or horizontal scaling- dealsScaling out- or horizontal scaling- deals with adding new hardware among other elements to support the current system. For instance, you can add a complementary data storage server to the current one. In the process, you will divide the burden of handling your ever-expanding data lake among both systems.

This solution is often a long term one as you can add new data management systems to support your current ones. Of course, it might be a tad tough to transition from using a single system in data management to using a clustered one. The tools and applications you choose for data analytics should be compatible enough with both types of scaling to make room for future changes in your business.

When Should You Scale?

How to Use Data to Grow Your BusinessIf you start hearing complaints from the various departments about data access, it might be too late to begin scaling. Remember, your storage location will store analytical and operational data. As such, a single stall in the retrieval of data could be detrimental to your customer services. When employees struggle to access data, your internal operations will also be impaired. If you start hearing complaints from the various departments about data access, it might be too late to begin scaling.

The trick lies in learning to anticipate such changes in data management. You should be aware of the boundaries of functionality that your current data systems provide you. On the other hand, concentrating on log analysis among other preventative maintenance practices can help you identify problems with your system's uptime as they unfold.

The same mentality should apply when identifying the best time to scale down. If business declines, you will need to use less of your current data management systems, which makes paying for them counterintuitive. In case you are in a volatile industry, using cloud systems in data analytics can keep you prepared for any unexpected scalability challenges.

So, how to use data to grow your business?

Thanks to a data-driven approach, you can grow your sales. In today's world, data is pretty much everywhere and this is probably the most valuable thing on the planet. You don't believe me? Companies like Facebook, Google or Amazon are among the most successful and most valuable companies in the world. Do you know why? Because they have a tremendous quantity and quality of data.

The value of data in the business world cannot be gainsaid, but it is only the prepared businesses can truly benefit from it. Your goal should be to embrace modern-day data management practices to generate quality insights from the data you collect. Work on building a culture that supports data analysis to enjoy the above benefit and more.

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