In today’s data-filled world, it seems like everyone is during to big data, and for good reason. Companies that successfully enact big data initiatives tend to have lower costs and higher revenues. But using big data is more than just sifting through data and throwing money at a data monitoring service — it takes strategy to truly be successful.
Business strategy is often easier said than done, especially when it comes to making sure all employees are aware of what the company is trying to achieve. A Franklin Covey survey found that 80% of employees couldn’t see how their tasks contributed to the organization’s overall goals, and 71% of employees in a recent Australian survey couldn’t identify their company’s strategy. Clearly even the best strategies devised in boardrooms need to make its way down to the employees who actually put it into action, especially when it comes to big data. A strategy can keep your big data initiative on track and lead to the best results; here is how to create a successful big data business strategy.
Set Clear Goals
There are a lot of ways data can be infused into a company, but without a clear path you will just be throwing time and resources at data with no real plan or results. Before delving into big data, consider what aspects of your business can be measured by analytics and how that can relate to your overall strategy. If your goal is to reach a certain amount of sales by the end of the quarter, you may choose to focus your strategy on customer retention and add-on sales. You can measure the analytics of sales, customer satisfaction, and retention, which all play a large role in your overall strategy. However, things like transaction speed and employee satisfaction, though tangentially related, don’t play a direct role into the overall goal.
Don’t just measure things because that’s how it has always been done or because that’s how everyone else does it — take time to set clear goals that will get your company to where it wants to be. For example, if competitors are using intelligent video analytics but it doesn’t fit your company’s overall strategy, don’t feel pressure to include that in your big data goals.
Create a Strategy Beforehand
Analytics can tell whatever story you want them to, especially if you only look at a portion of the data. If your organization consistently has high customer service scores but low employee retention rates, looking solely at the customer service data would paint a completely different picture about the state of the company than considering all of the data. Before switching to big data, set clear objectives you want to measure and then follow through when the data comes in.
Warren Buffett said: “At too many companies, the boss shoots the arrow of managerial performance and then hastily paints the bullseye around the spot where it lands.” The results might not always be perfect, but using strategic objectives and being honest in your goals can provide the hard truth and give your company guidance to grow and improve, which is the overall goal of big data.
Don’t Measure Everything
It can be difficult for organizations to not measure everything, especially when important information could be contained in the data and the temptation to not miss anything is very real. However, choosing to measure and analyze every piece of data can be overwhelming and lead to confusion with the data. Just like you don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen, you don’t want too many data points in your survey, as it can dilute and distract from the true story as it relates back to your strategy and most important metrics. It also takes time and resources to sort through large amounts of data, so keeping it streamlined to just what you need is almost always more efficient. When companies try to collect all the data, they often spend lots of time sorting through irrelevant data that doesn’t do anything to paint a true picture of the company’s goals.
Using big data can be a big boost for your company, especially when done smartly and strategically.