A world of data
In many contexts, data is often interchangeably used in place of information. Do they really mean the same thing?
Data are facts in form of words, numbers, measures or perhaps description of an entity etc. Information on the other hand is a collection of data put together which provides meaning to an entity.
In theory, data are words, numbers etc from which we derive information. Data on its own has little or no meaning in the wider context.
Over time data has proofed significant to organisations irrespective of industry. For example data has enabled service providers to categorise their customers and target segments. There after reach out to those target audience with facilities they never had before. This happens when different types of data are captured about service users i.e. transactional data (i.e. who bought what, where, how and when), demographic data (i.e. age, gender, marital status, children and income).
Making sense of data
Businesses are constantly trying to understand how to make sense of the data they capture or produce hence still trying to figure out what value can be harnessed from these data. But one question to ask is how much data is enough to generate value or significant meaning to enable an organisation make business decisions, kick off a new project or change, measure return on investment (ROI)?
Business operations exist within a digital ecosystem where web portals, social media channels and various applications interact constantly hence exchanging information. The data generated by these ecosystem is then analysed using analytics or business intelligence applications to understand patterns, trends etc. As a result businesses can make changes to their systems or organisational operations.
Use of Analytics demonstrates value to any organisation in any industry as it proves time and time over as a powerful way to drive profits, improvements, efficiency, productivity, sales etc. Therefore for an organisation to remain competitive, such organisations need to embrace data driven prospects and integrate analytics into their strategies.
What does it really mean to be data driven as an organisation? This is an organisation where people are able to access data they need to make business decisions swiftly hence it goes beyond simply analysing reports.
Most decisions generated due to analytics are often improvements decisions across an organisation’s operations hence making changes to processes, services etc.
Return on investment for example is key to most organisations and being able to capture reliable data can increase chances to measure accurately such return on investment.
Another key value of analytics is that business decisions are improved. Through the ability to quantify data, an organisation can understand the direction of travel of its customers and the ability to track them moving forward. This means such organisation can offer the right kind of service at the right time hence opportunities to drive up profits, improvements, efficiency, productivity, sales and remain competitive. For an organisation to have the ability to analyse its actions and that of its customers transforms the level playing field.
Steps towards becoming a data driven organisation
There are many ways organisations can choose to be data driven in its operations and alignment with external environment. A basic approach could be:
– Identify and communicate the business values of data across your organisation
– Address the Cultural Changes
– Define the tools, team and approach to measure data
– Make changes and manage the ethical implications of data analytics
– Re-evaluate your data analytics approach, tools and teams
– Re-align organisational strategy
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Thinking about or working on your data analytics project? Looking to integrate analytics into your business operations to drive up value? Then get in touch, we’ll be excited to go on the journey with you.
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About the Author:
Ehime Enahoro is a writer and consultant at with ENE Business Strategies LTD working on digital projects. A London based digital agency focused on delivering and supporting digital solutions for businesses.