The challenges of data are not just issues synonymous with large organisations. Any business, of any size, will understand the way they handle data has a huge bearing on the success of the business. With that being said, the complexity and sheer volumes continue to grow at an exceptional rate.
Anytime that we interact digitally with anyone or anything, we generate a proportion of data. It is thought by experts that by 2020 there will be 5.2K GB of data for every person in the world.
With these numbers growing at an exceptional rate, as we continue to move down digitisation, it's apparent that we are at the tip of the data iceberg of what can be achieved with a holistic view of all that data.
So here are some effective ways to overcome the data flood:
What should be done: Build the foundations
Data that is captured is not essentially intelligence. Capturing data has the possibility to give insight, which can be used as a framework for business intelligence and ways to improvements customer experience.
But, if a real ROI is to be gained, a coherent plan and an orderly method of action are necessities. The initial step is to determine an understanding of how data is handled. In other words the processes of how data is captured, organised and accessed? Where is it stored and in what format?
Auditing these processes will show any cracks to 'best-practice' data management and showcase where changes are needed before data can add value.
Merge sources of Data
Enhanced sharing of information is frequently a primary aim when a company sets out to combine their data. It could be concluded that this is a simple and straightforward task in small companies opposed to large organisations, however, in reality, a vast majority of companies have experienced the pains of the 'silo' effect; where individuals, teams, or even departments can lose sight of the 'one team, one dream' ethos and slip into working in solitude.
Internal barriers overthrow effective data management. A central data hub can help extensively, combining commercial information from wherever it is captured, such as sales, marketing, customer service, finance and production teams. It is important to bear in mind that people still manage technology. Therefore, training personnel and cultivate a culture of transparency, integration and collaboration is crucial.
Aim to know as much about your customer
The advantage of merging data sources into a central pool is that it enables organisations to link up the information from every interaction your customers have with you. This gives you a full view of the customer including; buying habits; behaviour and payment history which bolsters commercial analysis. Immediate insights, opportunities and problems can be spotted and this intelligence can be distributed across the organisation with ease.
An example of this may be that the marketing function may find that a customer is more responsive at the beginning of the month, but customer service may find that they are difficult and takes up too much time in relation to their value. This insight can help to drive rounded decisions so that expenditure and resources are deployed effectively.
What mustn't be done: Restrict the benefits
Being capable to access and analyse the company’s data in an agile way means that you can group customers by segment to attain a comprehensive understanding of your customer base and direct your marketing strategy.
Typically combining a more advanced management regime will help the entire business. For example, the lessons acquired from segmentation work will be precious for the product development team. Also, an up-to-the-minute, full customer view that is available by customer service staff means that they can handle inquiries more efficiently. Decision-making across the company will be improved if the information is shared effectively.
With the right data infrastructure in place, a fully-fledged CRM can be implemented across channels, enabling your company to give a consistent customer experience that meets the expectations of digitally-savvy consumers. This is a fundamental part of developing loyalty and, ultimately, customer retention.
Choose quantity over quality
Nobody wants to go to the trouble of obtaining or storing data for the sake of it.
Although, there is a very real risk of this happening which normally occurs because the company isn’t explicit in its data strategy. That’s why putting in the foundation to establish goals and strategy is so valuable. Nevertheless, even if the right processes have been put in place, the issue often comes down to the fact that the data itself is unreliable. How can data-driven initiatives such as CRM and Cloud adoption meet commercial needs if the data is wrong?
Even at a simplistic level, if addresses or phone numbers are out-of-date or wrong then basic customer communications will go amiss (and may damage your reputation). No matter the motive behind your drive to better manage data, regularly cleansing databases is fundamental.
Neglect data governance
Not only will bad quality, inadequately structured data hinder you from accomplishing your desired sales outcomes, it could present the company to substantial financial penalties and reputational damage, by flouting regulatory requirements such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
From May 25th, when the regulation is enforced, companies will need to be completely transparent about how they are using the data they hold – and this depends on a strong understanding of their own policies, systems and processes.
For instance, stringent privacy policies must be in place, and companies will need to disclose, correct or delete data within a month of being asked to do so. Data quality also plays a pivotal role, since ‘dirty data’ will undoubtedly violate the condition that databases are kept accurate and up-to-date.
So we can determine that when a company implements a strategy, it will have a great bearing on the longevity and progress of the overall business.
If you are concerned with your data or compliance of the new GDPR regulation, ask us about how our IT and Print solutions can help support your data strategy and overall compliance. You can contact us on +44 (0) 20 7014 0100 or email email@example.com