More data doesn’t make you more digital: Understanding what you need from data rather than just acquiring it opens up a virtuous circle that unlocks even more business potential.
Have you ever unloaded all the bags from the grocery store, looked around, and wondered, “What am I going to cook for dinner?”? Increasingly, this is how we see data in business today. Obtaining and acquiring data is the main focus: how do I obtain data, how do I structure it, and where do I host it?
More data doesn’t make you more digital
The questions and considerations above are all important, of course. Nonetheless, in order for companies to become truly data-driven, as most are striving to do, it might be best to start not with the supply side of the equation (shopping), but with the demand of the demand: dinner.
Basically, why do you want the data in the first place? What are your business goals? Are you going to make any decisions? What are your plans for activating the data?
How does your interest in the data relate to the original need for it? What are you trying to accomplish in terms of business results? How will you decide? What are your plans for activating the data?
Then and only then should you ask what data you really need. This could take the form of customization that you need to build, a capacity that you want to activate, a security issue that you want to mitigate, a performance metric that you want to improve, a regulatory requirement that you need to conform to, or machinery that you want to maintain. Using data, what is the business outcome you can optimize?
When we start with the question itself, it is easier to hypothesize what data might be relevant. Starting from there, you can begin working upstream to determine how and where to obtain the relevant data, which is usually obtained in two ways: either in-house or through an external channel, such as a broker, an exchange, or other association.
The new virtuous circle
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Every day and in every industry, we see that once the business outcome has been defined and the data has been prepared and published, more opportunities are apparent, and in some cases obvious, to leverage the data and turn information into action.
Data is changing our concept of the virtuous circle. The conversation used to start with: get as much data as you can, then use it to get information, and the more information you get, the more data you need. The industry is changing in a way that emphasizes, once again, business results, not data delivery.
The potential of data continues to grow as data has become almost limitless in nature and more and more techniques are developed to get more meaning from it. We believe that instead of data generating insights, leading to a greater need for data, exceptionally well-defined results require data, and once the data is in hand, even greater and better results are possible. We are in a virtuous circle.
Using location data to reap revenue
Here is an example: a major construction retailer wanted to generate more traffic (especially contractors) at its stores versus a competitor. The hypothesis was that by better understanding where people go before and after visiting your stores, you could provide targeted cross-promotional offers.
After establishing the business goal, we were ready to look into data provision options. There was no way to collect this data in the normal course of business. The retailer’s app only captures location information while it’s running, and for most people, this is only when they’re at home or in the store, not before or after they leave.
As a result, the retailer has partnered with a mobile games company that uses real-time latitude and longitude data from mobile devices. Fast food restaurants were the most frequented destination before and after a visit. Consequently, he could create campaigns offering co-promotions between himself and the restaurant, specifically timed to encourage customers to come back.
Once the virtuous circle begins to spin, the retailer can use that information in other ways, such as delivering fast food with customer orders, determining the best cross-selling path within a store, and renting space in their basement. Parking lot or retail space used for parking.
Opening the doors of the cathedral
We consider this to be the new frontier of data modernization: mapping supply to demand rather than vice versa, and then getting the right data to flow where it is needed to make decisio when a decision needs to be made. Such decisions are activated on the market.
These cathedrals have been built to worship data in recent years. It is time to free the data from these structures and let them start evangelizing their value by scrolling where they can actually make a difference. We need to stop worrying about where the data will be stored and start ensuring that it gets to the right place.
Data is an increasingly valuable asset for companies today as they race not just to collect more data, but to figure out how best to use it, where it should go, and how to steer even more innovation through it. Businesses all around the world need to compete on this “data activation”.