Access to big data has changed the game for small and large businesses alike. Instead of using small focus groups and general demographics to extrapolate target market activities, modern companies can now access specific information—and lots of it—about employees and customers, helping fine tune marketing and sales, and drive increased ROI. Big data can help businesses solve almost every problem with a working, research driven solution.
But, for many organizations, “big data” is a scary term. Where does the info come from? How do I translate such a massive and ever changing data set into usable information? I’ve found the key to successfully leveraging big data in order to support digital transformation strategy is to start slowly.
Big Data And Digital Transformation
Digital transformation helps companies embrace a culture of change and remain competitive in a global environment, but, when companies decide to go digital, the process is a little bit like losing weight (’tis the season!). You can’t go on a diet for a few weeks and expect fast or lasting results. Losing weight has to be a lifestyle change, and so does incorporating big data into your business strategies.
Big data allows companies to make meaningful, strategic adjustments that minimize costs and maximize results. If you know what consumers and employees are doing currently, you can create projections for what they will do in the future, and start implementing changes to address their needs and your goals. A digital transformation isn’t complete unless a business adopts big data.
Some enterprises read or hear about the types of data other companies use in their own digital strategies. This should never provide yours with a starting point for pursuing big data applications. Every business is unique, and needs to look strategically at both short- and long-term goals.
Identify the biggest challenges you face in the marketplace today. With a list of goals and challenges, companies can start to break down big data into usable insights that will drive success. Start small, and avoid using non-specific goals—such as “maximize the bottom line.” Instead, try to overcome pointed challenges and meet objectives to:
- Improve or change the customer experience.
- Improve employee workflow for better productivity.
- Identify customer pain points in the digital world for marketers to focus on.
- Retain customers.
- Reduce costs.
Find The Right Data Sets
You can find useful data both in-house and in the marketplace. Your CRM and ERP tools offer significant insight into consumers and employees, and leveraging that data often only requires knowing how to structure a report. You can also use social media management systems and online tools such as Google Analytics to monitor consumer behavior and brand interactions. Use the focus of your goal to inform the data sets you use to address the problem.
If you can identify one metric that will influence your approach to a goal, find and use it first. As more questions surrounding that initial goal arise, continually look for new data sets that can provide the information you need to make informed decisions. Avoid guessing or only relying only on logic to optimize your strategies, and look for tools that will provide you with the reports needed to make a sound judgment call.
Maximizing The Benefits For Any Business
You don’t have to be a data analyst or employ one to start using big data. Many tools and platforms exist today that can help you take data sets, manipulate them, and present them in an orderly fashion for your team to evaluate and use. Often, finding valuable information requires generating a simple report that provides you with an overview of your current impact, trends, or projections.
If your enterprise still has a hard time understanding how big data can streamline a digital transformation, I’d advise taking a few continuing education classes, attending a seminar, or hiring a consultant. Once you have access to the tools and know how to interpret the data, your company has everything it needs to start gaining momentum and make a successful digital transformation. Stay competitive in the marketplace in 2016 with a strategy to incorporate big data into your business operations.
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This article was written by Daniel Newman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.