Businesses are capturing more information than ever before. The most successful firms are analyzing that information and are focused on building their strategy around customer and market data.

Data management strategy

To create a data-driven business, you need to have a data management strategy. This needs to start with your culture and people. You need to encourage the right behaviours among your staff. It might help to create a training programme, which ensures your people are capturing data properly, on the right systems and in a way allows your business to gain useful insights from that data.

Analytics

There is no point in capturing data if you can’t analyze it. Your business needs to manage data well and it needs to value data analytics. Don’t jump straight into rolling out software and technology. Take the time to define the needs of the business and build your analytics systems around that. Define what you need to know in order to drive sales, increase profitability or retain existing clients. Then feed these questions into your data analytics strategy.

Your analytics should seek to provide answers to these questions in order to add value to your business.

Now that your people and systems are in place, your business will be in a better position to collect data, analyze it and use the outputs to improve company performance with data-driven insights.

Look for opportunities to use data

Unless you have data, you are just another person with an opinion.  Look out for ways to use data to improve your business. Use customer data to improve your business development and marketing efforts. You can use data to reduce costs or to manage your supply chain more efficiently. You can even use data-driven insights to help improve cash-flow by improving your debtor days and cash management across your business.

Remember, most businesses (and therefore, most of your competitors) are not very good at managing their data. If you can capture, analyse and utilise data throughout your business more effectively than they can, you will have a significant competitive advantage