Success in the modern business environment is rapidly becoming synonymous with a data-driven approach.
According to a PwC survey of senior executives, highly data-driven organisations are 300% more likely to report significant improvements in decision making, compared to less data-focused counterparts.
The way businesses interact with data has rapidly transformed in recent years: once the realm of backroom techies, it’s now front and centre of any leading company’s strategy for success.
Effective data analysis is the undisputed key to optimising your company’s day to day performance. Simply put, delving into the numbers behind your processes, wins and losses will increase your company’s output while decreasing the legwork behind it.
Whether success for your firm means kickstarting innovation, finding new market space or driving purchases and conversions like never before, data analysis is an indispensable strategy component.
As Geoffrey Moore – bestselling author of Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers – aptly puts it, “without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf.”
Those that adapt will thrive on razor-sharp insights. Those that fail will fall behind. So, how can your company embrace a successful data-driven approach?
Move beyond the hierarchies of yesteryear
The rise of data is changing the face of the corporate world, so effectively embracing that change comes at the cost of traditional business hierarchies.
The talent charged with transforming your company’s approach to data analysis will need freedom to experiment, to learn and to adapt.
Maintaining traditional chains of command risks stopping that process in its tracks. Instead, the established decision makers of the corporate world need to let data experts take the reins in shaping the analytics-driven future of enterprise.
Abandon corporate silos for cross-departmental collaboration
Simply introducing the basics of data analysis across your company’s separate departments won’t achieve the results you need.
Without an integrated, inter-departmental approach to data, your teams will just be working harder to make less progress.
It’s structural shake-up, plus introducing a data-driven mindset, that will drive change.
Former Yahoo! executive Tim Sanders’ strategy of disruptive collaboration encapsulates this approach: streamlined, cross-disciplinary collaboration is the key to corporate innovation.
To drive its turn towards data, your company will also need to establish a Single Source of Truth (SSOT). From this goldmine of reliable data will emerge the actionable points that form the basis of your future strategy.
Push for longevity, adaptability and scalability
Data-driven strategies are the next foolproof step to propelling your company into the future. That much we know.
But the way in which your firm conceives of its approach to data analysis is a much more complex question.
In the words of Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, “data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves.” Data will outlive any corporate strategy out there and is accumulating at an exponential rate: the IDC predicts that the Global Datasphere will reach 175 Zettabytes by 2025.
So, companies that look beyond the needs of today, prioritising longevity, adaptability and scalability, are those that will triumph.
According to PwC’s senior executive survey, 36% of highly data-driven companies make predictive decisions, compared to just 13% of rarely data-driven firms.
This is integral to what marketing guru Marty Neumeier refers to as “getting in front of a parade” – identifying trends to support the rise of your company’s products and proposals.
Adopting a data driven approach won’t just give you the statistics-backed confidence to proactively plumb new business opportunities, but will also allow you to identify which areas of your company are overspending and underperforming.
Embracing your data-driven strategy
Modifying outdated corporate habits to pave the way for a fresh, data-focused landscape is integral to future success.
As Netflix CEO Reed Hastings puts it: “If someone discusses something with me on the basis of opinions, my opinion will win. That’s why I prefer people to argue with me on the basis of data, because then the data will win”.
Now is the time for decisive action, rather than tentative steps: prioritising data expertise rather than traditional corporate hierarchies and deploying a comprehensive rethink of how your departments collect, share and utilise company data.
Moving to a data-driven approach now will future-proof your enterprise, as long as the framework you build is designed to adapt and upscale as necessary, laying the groundwork for insight-based innovation.
And the sooner you start, the better. Thorough planning and a stable foundation will prime the successful rollout of your data-driven masterplan.
Welcome to your business future.