In 2017, Data Is the Key to Business Success

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To date, there are more than 2.7 zettabytes of data in the digital universe, and that number is growing all the time. With so much data floating around the internet, it’s virtually impossible to be unaware of the many benefits that data provides to an organization.

Data makes it easier to analyze customer behavior and make better business decisions as a result. It keeps companies competitive, even against larger, more profitable companies.

Research shows that just over 50 percent of startups will be out of business within five years. There are many reasons for businesses failure, but a huge factor is poor marketing strategies and insufficient allocation of funds towards marketing.

Companies that invest adequately in data avoid these problems. They recognize the potential that data collection has on their business strategy and use it to achieve their goals.

Data Propels Businesses Forward

Though some argue that a sound financial plan or a great marketing strategy are the keys to success, the big picture reveals data to be the most profound tool for remaining competitive.

The human race, and every other living species on earth, has relied on evolution to get where they are today. Data is simply business evolution at its finest. It’s about taking successes of the past and combining them with new knowledge that can improve every aspect of your business plan.

Think about it in context. It benefits your marketing by providing old and new information regarding customer interests. It aids your financial planning by showing both mistakes and successes in spending that can be corrected or repeated in the future. It helps recruiters find top talent through information about top colleges and what people are looking for in your job field.

Data can be everything for a company that’s looking to grow and defy the odds of business failure. It has the power to maintain or reverse a company’s progression.

Data Collection Isn’t Always Easy

Data is fairly easy to come by, but quality data is another matter. The biggest challenge facing data collection is avoiding dirty data that is either inaccurate or non-useful. Some of the largest contributors to dirty data include:

  • Insufficient Knowledge: Many companies, especially small ones without analytic resources, don’t know what data means. They might have a piece of quality data in front of them, but they’re unable to interpret and use it to accomplish their goals.
  • Data Transfers: In its original form, data is usually pure, but it can often be corrupted during transfers. Employee typing errors can yield incorrect data, changing the perspective of your organization. Training can help with this problem and ensure higher quality.
  • Data Variety: Companies with insufficient resources can struggle to obtain multiple types of information. Oftentimes, the data collected is incompatible and, therefore, non-useful to an organization.
  • System Errors: When working perfectly, data doesn’t lie. However, server outages, duplicates, malfunctions, and other errors can result in dirty data.

Correcting dirty data isn’t easy. It’s much simpler to obtain quality data to begin with. Doing so requires a plan to analyze data and measure consistency. Quality control is key in delivering numbers that can help a business grow.

Improving Your Business’s Data Collection

To achieve higher quality data collection and better use that information for the growth of your business, subscribe to some new data collection methods.

  • Store it properly. This will help to prevent things like dirty data and corruption. Use a reliability centered maintenance (RCM) management tool to study, organize, and store your complex data for future use.
  • Put data collection in line with your goals. If you’re only collecting data for the sake of having it, you won’t get very far. Write down goals your company will be working towards. As you evaluate where you want to be, it will create some structure for your data capabilities.
  • Recognize that data is only 80 percent of the solution. You’ll never get perfect data, and that means you can’t rely on it completely. Always expect to use data for 80 percent of your decision making and your own critical thinking for the other 20 percent.
  • When analyzing data, consider who will see it. Data is only as good as the people who will be interpreting it. Determine how your team learns best and use data to provide insights that speak their language. It will help to focus your team’s efforts and create more useful data for the benefit of your organization.
  • Aim to diversify your data. This is best accomplished by identifying the data sources you’re going to use and ensuring that they provide the details you need to meet your goals. For example, you might gain very similar data from your CMS and your POS. This means you’ll want to look at another source of data to add a little variety to what you’ve already collected.

There’s no denying the power that data can have in a company’s journey towards success. It’s vital to evaluate your biggest obstacles with data and develop a series of solutions that will keep your organization competitive.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.