Yolanda Smit, Regional (Gauteng) Director at PBT Group, says becoming data-driven is a key priority for organisations and has fast become ‘the new oil’ in business.
Undoubtedly, businesses that have already invested in data analytics have begun to reap the benefits, especially those wanting to make far more accurate forecasts and examine ways to become more customer-centric.
However, there are still many businesses who are not investing in data analytics. Perhaps this is a result of a lack of understanding around the significant business value data analytics offers. Let’s explore this further.
A ‘refined’ perspective
Successful IT projects and the overall business strategy require clear goals which are typically concluded after an intentional or implicit review of information. Data analytics is no exception. Success in establishing a data analytics capability in the organisation requires clear goals. However, a business that has successfully established its data analytics capability, can, in turn start fuelling and enabling the process of setting its overall business strategic objectives and aligning IT initiative goals.
As a result, when conducting an analysis, data teams must seek to discover useful information about customers in order to support decision-making on projects, to improve productivity, and a host of other outcomes.
Done correctly, a data analytics capability can enable the business to provide a ‘refined’ perspective on what is happening in the business, providing answers to questions like: ‘what’s my customers’ preferences, behaviour or spend appetite?’; ‘what are the market trends?’; ‘where can the business optimise expenditure or create process efficiencies?’
These insights enable better informed business strategy formulation.
Empowering competitive edge
Having an abundance of data available doesn’t mean much if it is not leveraged to the benefit of the business. However, if analytics is invested in, and intentionally managed for data accuracy and reliability, then a multitude of possibilities can unfold for the enterprise.
In fact, some of the unexpected benefits of data analytics include long-term benefit of short-term losses. This is huge – as it enables the organisation to quickly review their current offerings, and data, and understand how to adapt the customer experience and change or tweak their product or service offerings based on real needs and wants (based on current data and information) – to truly become agile in their competitive response to the market.
This not only assists a business to adapt to market changes in a timelier manner, but also helps them achieve a competitive advantage in an economically challenging environment.
Generating revenue is the obvious end goal of most enterprises. While data analytics has the potential to transform a business and produce a clearer revenue opportunity, to achieve this, companies will need to invest in a data analytics team.
This team must not only understand the organisation’s objectives when it comes to data, but how to use data effectively to achieve the set goals. Furthermore, before analytical tools can be leveraged, this team must take responsibility for making sure that the quality of the data being analysed is examined and that the data is good and ready for analysis.
Placing a focus on these areas will allow organisations to use data analytics for the purpose of generating more revenue (and increased revenue means increased value).
As Jim Bergeson says, data will talk to you if you are willing to listen. And it’s true – as the real business value of data analytics can only be seen if organisations are willing to listen, and truly take data on board as a key business resource.
Any business, irrespective of size or industry, can benefit from data analytics. However, focus should be on understanding what data analytics can do for the business, based on its goals, and investing in the right team of people to ensure that the right data is analysed, to achieve the best possible results.