Data without context are only numbers. Discover a new way of looking at data analytics and insights.
The amount of customer data collected by your company is increasing every year. It comes from many places— surveys, support tickets, social media, and countless others. But data is only valuable if you can understand and take action from it.
Gaining insight from data is essential for long-term business success. Data analysis is no longer a task for statisticians. You need to effectively insert data analytics into your day-to-day routine. You’ll never unlock data’s true value if you can’t embed data analysis into every department and project.
A transition has taken place across the business world in the past few years. Companies are no longer focused on just quantitative data. They want more. They’re looking for a deeper understanding of the language used in their customer data.
This new trend has created a rise in the need for tools that support natural language processing (NLP). Everyone still uses survey tools. Today, those basic surveys are enhanced with text analysis, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning.
“The sheer volume of data can feel overwhelming.”
Data often comes in many formats, making it difficult to understand and interpret. But companies that can unlock insights from their customer data gain a strong competitive advantage. That means you need to find an approach that works for you.
In this article, we’ll examine a few trends that will help you to unlock more valuable insights from your customer data.
Capitalize on being data-rich
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and smart device (IoT) companies have data gathering built into their DNA. Other kinds of companies may not have that same advantage, but everyone wants to learn more about their customers. It’s for a good reason. Deloitte found that 49% of companies say analytics helps them make better decisions.
Companies today are data-rich. They have many streams of data that can produce detailed analytics. The problem isn’t getting more data. The bigger challenge is the number of formats and quality of the existing data. Deloitte’s report also found that 31% of their respondents rate their data integration and quality as adequate, while 35% say their data is entirely unintegrated.
Messy data means that companies struggle to find valuable insights, even though all the information is there. It’s present, but it’s inaccessible. It’s locked away.
It’s the proverbial needle in a haystack. Harvard Business Review found in a study that only 3% of the data sets they examined were “acceptable.” If you want to realize the full value of your data, improving data quality is the critical first step.
Here are some ideas you can use to improve your data quality:
- Bring all data into a central data warehouse or integrate it with data visualization software.
- Train your employees or provide additional tools to increase transparency.
- Identify a small number of focus areas for a given quarter or fiscal year. For example, you might focus on product improvement for the next few quarters, then shift to focusing on process improvements.
- Clean up your existing data and create standards for future data collection.
- Determine if the feedback you are collecting is valid or is skewed due to the collection method or some other bias. Use these insights to improve future data collection.
If you have plenty of data but it’s of low quality, these steps will help you unlock more insights to improve your products and customer experience.
Driving value with insights
Deriving value from data often requires creativity.
Jarret Jackson of Forbes writes that many companies practice “force-fitting new information into old constructs that might no longer apply…if we only look at what we’ve been doing and any deviations from it, we miss the opportunity to re-define the question.”
In other words, you only innovate if you can use data to understand something new. Simply using data to reinforce old notions and structures defeats the purpose.
Your teams are diverse. The insights they need to succeed are unique. You’ll get more value from your data if you can help them find new ways to integrate data and compare different data sources. Use their observations to influence potential changes—to your product or processes—and then measure the return on investment of those changes.
Jackson continues: “Carve out time for [your employees] to develop questions about the business and then help them work to answer them. Who knows what they might uncover?”
Strengthening your offerings requires a team effort. You need to look at your data in different ways.
A large data warehouse isn’t worth anything unless you’re able to consistently extract insights from it. To find the most value from your data, make it easy for people to approach it in imaginative ways. Empower your teams with the freedom to ask creative questions.
“What if we looked at…” is a very powerful way to start unlocking new insights.
Democratizing access to improve capacity
We’re all short on time. It’s a common and seemingly unsolvable problem.
Deloitte’s Analytics Advantage report found that a “key barrier to analytical progress is that nearly half of respondents said they don’t have the number of individuals or the skill levels required for data analytics within the organization.”
Analysis requests never end. With many companies tightening down on budgets, odds are you need to conduct more data analysis in-house. If you want to succeed, you’ll need to be intentional about equipping employees to access and analyze data on their own.
McKinsey’s research found that companies with successful analytics invest 4x as much to embed analytics into their company’s DNA. For example, this might mean integrating analytics into workflows across the organization:
“The most successful companies target much of this spending toward the biggest challenge companies face in extracting value from analytics—the last mile, or embedding analytics into the core of all workflows and decision-making processes. Nearly 90 percent of breakaway organizations devote more than half of their analytics budgets to this effort.”
Growing companies unlock their data by involving more team members and empowering more cross-functional collaboration. Creating a culture where many people have the access and the skills to leverage your customer data brings big benefits. It will increase your ability to execute, democratize data analysis, and multiply the insights you uncover.
The key to data success
If you want to unlock the value of data analytics and insights in your organization, you need to start by implementing these three strategies:
- Collect high-quality data
- Drive value through creative views
- Increase capacity through democratization
If today’s volume of data seems overwhelming, it will only feel worse a few years from now. Companies that proactively create plans to make the most of their customer data will gain a competitive advantage over those that do not. Unlock your customer data to improve your customer experience and drive business growth.
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