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Knowledge Is Power: How Data Is Feeding Disruption

By News Creatives Authors , in Small Business , at November 10, 2021

Jon Miller is the Chief Product Officer and CMO of Demandbase

In 1597 when Sir Francis Bacon famously said, “knowledge itself is power,” he probably had no idea how true his words would prove to be. In the 21st century, knowledge in the form of data certainly delivers power. Huge companies like Google, Facebook and Netflix use their data to determine what search results to return, what ads will be most effective or what viewers might want to watch next.

The Availability Of Data

Companies with an eye on the future need to take advantage of the rich data available and use it to drive more accurate predictions and stronger personalization. Software is increasingly commoditized, so we can easily get a hold of open-source, predictive analytics. It’s difficult, however, to get clean, organized first- and second-party data because until recently, companies have had to work with a variety of vendors to get the assets they need.

Data scientists agree that high-quality, accurate data is critical and that the more you have access to, the better. The amount of data we create, capture, copy and consume increased by almost 5,000% over the past decade. As the importance of gathering data continues to grow, research from the International Data Corporation (IDC) shows the data we generate in the next three years will far outstrip that of the last 30 years.

How Data Drives Disruption

Large companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and LinkedIn are winning the race to lead the digital economy. It’s telling that these are almost all software companies because the best software solutions run on the best data. From the best AI applications to the best go-to-market strategies, everything requires high-quality data to make it work.

Where sales teams previously used experience and intuition to choose prospects to focus their account-based efforts on, predictive analytics now helps score leads and identify the best targets. Data can also tell companies where to get the best revenue, how individual customer experiences should unfold and the best areas to focus their marketing. These insights enable companies to make farsighted assessments, giving them a strong foundation in their markets.

No industry is unaffected by the shift to data-driven decisions. Retail, travel and transportation are examples of sectors that operated very differently a few years back and have grown at an astonishing rate since then. The adoption of e-commerce has greatly accelerated since the start of the pandemic. Retail also shows evidence of disruption with online stores rapidly replacing brick-and-mortar venues while using data to improve the physical stores still in place.

How Data Feeds Transformation

Data can feed the transformation of any business, and without it, a company is shooting in the dark. Your organizations should be enhancing the customer journey by using behavior and preference data to develop brand loyalty and improve retention. I recommend you personalize your companies’ procurement experiences and utilize data-driven account intelligence and product suggestions to boost your average basket value.

Develop a comprehensive view of your inventory and integrate it with performance metrics to understand areas of concern that you need to address. Data-driven insights can also be used to increase pricing advantages, identify promotional opportunities and optimize restocking protocols to ensure your business customers are adequately catered for.

Use proactive analysis to rev up the accuracy of sales forecasts, lower inventory costs and decrease the chances of shrinkage and fraud. This can help reduce the impact of adverse events on your business.

Getting Started With Data

Many companies struggle to make data and analytics (D&A) work for them. Even though 47% of business leaders feel that D&A has altered their industries during the past four years, they still encounter problems putting data to work for their companies. To make the most of the data available, you’ll need to overcome these obstacles:

Lack of Executive Buy-In: It takes a significant investment in time, money and resources to digitize offline data and analyze unstructured data, and executives are often difficult to convince.

Data Quality: Many companies don’t yet have consistent, complete data ready for a D&A strategy. This creates the urgent need for a cleanup, and the cost and challenge of doing this can prevent a data-first strategy from getting off the ground.

Integration with Workflow: Companies typically concentrate on what they could do with their new data insights, but these don’t always make it into the day-to-day workflow. This issue sidelines accountability and prevents data supporters from ever making the most of the insights available.

Make Data A “Food” Source

Companies need clear and relevant strategies focused on real business cases to overcome these barriers to success. It’s one thing to get excited about the nuances of the data, but a different animal entirely to operationalize the insights and get the maximum actions and ROI from it. 

So, while Marc Andreessen stated 10 years ago that software is “eating the world,” today it’s data that’s doing so. Or rather, data is feeding the business world, and, without it, starvation and disenfranchisement of certain companies are almost guaranteed. By making data a food source for management, it’s possible to turn your knowledge into actions that drive business results. 

May the organization that has the best data win.


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