Every business leader hopes to create and maintain a robust decision support system within their company, especially now in the “golden era” of data. However, even the most innovative companies struggle to reach the full potential of data-driven strategies.
With the help of technology, companies today collect terabytes of valuable information on customers, products, and advertising campaign performance. Such enormous data portions can be game-changers for the marketing efforts of businesses of all sizes. Marketing directors can use it to improve their strategies, and business operations managers can make vital daily decisions based on facts and real-time data.
However, even with sophisticated technical solutions that allow companies to collect and process these mountains of data, they can't make the most of it unless they foster a company culture that is data-driven. Technology alone can't make a significant difference without an effective system to support the proper, efficient use of the collected data.
Data Alone Won't Get You Far
Data can't work on its own, so companies must find ways to fit the data-driven culture in their organizational structures and processes. It may come as a shock that even the most advanced, tech-savvy businesses use only a tiny portion of the data they obtain. The challenge isn't the lack of data, but the challenge of managing it in the right way and benefiting from it.
Utilizing so little of the valuable data leaves companies and their leaders with no option but to continue making critical decisions based on past metrics and their gut instincts. Creating a culture that ditches assumptions and instead uses data to make critical decisions is therefore vital for commercial success. The key is to create an internal culture that helps businesses extract the correct information and use it to make vital decisions.
Implement a Company-Wide Data Strategy
One of the biggest obstacles in implementing a data strategy within a company is the common belief that dealing with data is the sole responsibility of the IT department. Along with that, the usual mistake companies make is to focus only on the tech part of data collecting, and neglect the proper implementation of derived insights across the entire business.
By developing a company-wide data strategy, a business includes all relevant decision-makers across all departments in the process of acquiring, analyzing, and ultimately using the data. Employees may not be thrilled about learning to handle something as mundane or technical as data, but using data to improve everyday operations can make their work significantly more visible and accountable. Once they stop perceiving data as an overly complicated technical overhead, the staff will be happy to participate in implementing the insights derived from the data.
Integrate Data Analysts in All Business Segments
But even in the most advanced data-driven company cultures, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to deliver a solid amount of actionable data insights without the help of data analysts. Moreover, it's not enough for the analysts to work in the data department and gather information. It's best to ensure they actively participate as extended team members in various departments across the organization. For example, for successful ideation and delivery of marketing campaigns, data analysts should be involved in both brainstorming and final performance analysis phases.
Pace is a crucial piece of the puzzle when you are building a culture that stands on facts and gathers a massive amount of data daily. If the speed at which you recognize changes and suggest actions doesn't follow the pace of receiving information, it will slow down the entire business. Investing in tools that will boost the analyst's speed and efficiency helps broaden the reach of the insights they will be delivering. By using intelligent, proactive data analytics platforms, they will be able to answer more questions quickly and enhance overall effectiveness.
Inspire a Data-Driven Culture Among Employees
No matter how good your data strategy may be, it's useless if people are not a part of it, and they don't use the data and the derived insights. Therefore, it's critical to inspire a data-driven culture across the whole organization and educate and train the employees on how to understand the role of data, and how to use it.
Talking about data-driven decision-making is far easier than actually using the approach for every decision you make as a leader. To build a data-driven culture, the leaders must demonstrate how all decisions throughout the company should rely on data instead of gut feelings or anything even remotely vague. The best way for managers to reinforce the data-driven way of making decisions is to always ask about the data analysis and stats behind any suggestions or ideas coming from employees. Questions about the stats and research will encourage employees to use them more frequently.
The goal is to implement the data-driven process across every segment of operations, from product design to marketing campaigns. Fundamental training is necessary for the teams to prepare for migrating from their old ways to data-driven decision-making. Learning about specialized analytical tools and concepts takes dedication, and people should use their newly gathered knowledge as soon as they finish training. However, it's also vital to offer the education in time, so the employees don't forget everything they've learned until the process starts.
Switching to a data-driven culture will enhance the overall productivity of the entire company, not only the marketing team. Precise, comprehensive, and actionable information from the gathered data provides employees across all departments to deliver reliable and quick solutions to the daily challenges of any business. Once a company starts making decisions based on hard cold facts and stats, it can never return to the old ways. Although it takes work and dedication, the benefits of building a data-driven culture are worth the effort.
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