Reimagining your company as a Data-Powered business has significant rewards.
Like many businesses, your organization may base its identity largely on services that you offer, or products that you develop or simply source and sell as an intermediary. But at this stage in the information era, it’s useful to recognize that you are more of a data-powered business.
Think of the enormous amount of data involved in running your company today. For example, every inquiry to customer service, sales, or technical support provides another useful chunk of information, especially when it’s aggregated and then analyzed for patterns.
Then there are click-through rates on your website to consider, along with statistics about which of your customers open your email marketing messages or read the newsletters that you send them each month. How many of them forward your messages to friends, helping to boost your reputation as well as drum up more business?
A company can also find useful data in how many resumes it receives in a certain period, and what the quality of the applicants is like lately compared to previous years. Of course, a data-powered business contends with a lot more information than what’s generated internally. There is also plenty of data coming from customers and potential customers, such as from social media posts or data on bank transactions.
Reimagining Your Company as a Data-Powered Business
Ideally, information that you work with will be collected from your regular business operations as well as from any collaborators you partner with. You may also have real-time data synthesized by artificial intelligence to add to the mix.
Getting to the point of being a data-powered business involves reviewing all potential points of data to integrate and harness, which you may need to do with outside consultants.
Information technology experts from Capgemini have noted that it’s useful to consider data as energy, using the sun as a metaphor for being abundant and unlimited, much like the torrent of information generated daily on the planet. Regarding it as virtually unlimited can encourage you to share data for collaboration with partners, while each can still maintain a competitive advantage.
Advances in Data-Driven Business Processes
Historically, organizations can be viewed as first working in a data-validated era, then progressing to a period of being data-informed, culminating in the current data-powered era.
Those who are just starting to explore their business as being data-driven will find it beneficial to look at the evolution of the data ecosystem.
As Kinetica put it, during the earlier, data-validated era, companies used data to validate assumptions they had already made. There wasn’t much information to go on and it would typically only give an abstract view of the company. This kind of information is suitable for finding out which areas see more customer growth or what products are selling out and which are duds.
Then, companies transitioned to a data-informed period, with enterprises now using that information to help them make business decisions. However, limitations on software and technology (and bandwidth to transmit the data itself) kept enterprises from fully harnessing the torrent of information while it was still new and active.
And now we are entering into a data-powered period. Kinetica notes that with this advance, massive amounts of real-time data “directs the activity of business in real-time,” with managers needing to curate the streaming data for analysis and then react to it.
There is no way for ordinary humans to handle such a massive amount of data constantly streaming in, without taking advantage of the latest data tools for use in the enterprise.
Tools for Data-Powered Business Efforts
If you have only just started to consider your company as a data-powered business, chances are you may need to use new tools to work with the sheer weight of data coming your way. In particular, you’ll focus your staff to explore cloud computing services, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and of course, data analytics.
* Cloud Computing: It’s difficult for many companies to accurately predict how much computational power they’ll need for new initiatives like becoming a data-powered business. Relying on cloud computing service providers lets you focus on your core competencies and leave the information technology wrangling to the cloud provider. You also don’t need to be concerned with arranging for more bandwidth, as the service will expand according to your requirements.
* Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning: It’s impossible for people to process millions of points of data in real-time, which means that an enterprise will need to work with artificial intelligence to analyze the trove of information as it arrives. And using machine learning tools gives you insight into the data to make on-the-spot decisions, such as to increase production in one area and decrease it in another, or to focus marketing in a new region that the data points to as being ripe for expansion based on new demographics information.
* Analytics: All the data captured will be of little use if you do not sort and process it, using analytics to determine unpredicted patterns, identify opportunities and influence future business direction. For example, new data supports a plan to mount a takeover of another company now, or to pivot operations, such as transitioning from a delivery-on-demand mode to a subscription service for your products.
Examples of Data-Powered Business Analytics in Action
Enterprises will be well-served to adopt a data-powered business mindset if only for the ability to become more efficient. Brandman University explained that companies can use big data to boost their operational efficiency, by taking in information about production, feedback from customers, and details about returned products to evaluate their profitability and benchmark their production quality.
What’s more, using predictive analytics helps save money and cut costs because a company can use the analytics to predict future demand more accurately or even make better informed hiring decisions to cut down on turnover, further saving resources.
It’s worth taking a look at a few examples of key industries and how data-powered business efforts can help them, per Kinetica’s study, focusing on energy, finance, and media:
In the oil and gas industry, one company began visualizing enormous data sets, helping it to improve the way it extracts oil while minimizing the impact on the environment. At the same time, it integrated real-time data from its pipelines and wells to determine the most suitable locations for developing new oil and gas drilling fields.
In finance, institutions can apply data-powered tools to monitor real-time information in different investment sectors, to boost or reduce trading as they optimize their portfolios. And to model as many as 500 million positions going out years into the future to address regulatory requirements requires the use of artificial intelligence, data mining, and the ability to process it as the data pours in.
In the realm of broadcasting and media, data-powered business efforts involve collecting 300 million to 1 billion events per day from users’ set-top boxes or apps running on mobile devices. This lets a company get specific details about how well a particular advertiser is reaching viewers, and through which programs. Also included are statistics on which demographics are viewing shows through different devices (such as younger people watching movies on their smartphones while out and about and older people gazing at big-screen TVs at home).
The prospects of improving engagement with customers and potential customers are enormous thanks to adopting a data-powered business approach.
Are you Reimagining your company as a Data-Powered business?
If you haven’t given much consideration to the fact that your company is a data-powered business, now is a perfect time to start. It’s safe to say your competitors are viewing their data in complex ways to give them an edge over you.