Information is the lifeblood of an effective business. Without efficiently collected and sufficiently analyzed data, any strategy your company employs will be a little better than shots in the dark. Because of how important data and business insights are to running a good company, it’s surprising that a survey revealed 59 percent of companies don’t even have any method of gathering information.
But the problem doesn’t stop at data collection. Plenty of business owners also don’t know what to do with most of the data they’ve collected. If you want to make it big, you need to learn about the problem of dark data and how you can effectively merge business data with strategy.
Even when businesses put out surveys and questionnaires to gather as much data as they can, they may not know how to use them effectively if they use them at all. Unused information is called “dark data,” and there’s a lot of it floating around. In an expert survey of more than 1,300 business leaders from around the world, they estimate that as much as 55 percent of data collected goes unused. In the United States, the survey discovered that 36 percent of companies have a dark data rate of approximately 75 percent.
Dark data represents countless advantages lost for your business. Without proper management and analysis, your business could be failing to recognize prime opportunities to expand your company or explore new markets. Dark data can also contain information that can help you spot flaws in your operations.
Business Data and Strategy
The best way to make use of insights and data is to partner with companies that provide excellent business intelligence consultation. However, you can take steps to properly integrate business data collection and management seamlessly into your operations. The following are some steps you can take to encourage this integration.
Review business goals.
Dark data can often arise because your data collection methods aren’t specific enough. The best way to make sure you don’t gather too much information is to align data collection with your business goals. Review what you want your company to accomplish within a set amount of time.
Do you want to boost customer satisfaction? Or maybe expand to another location? Retool your marketing approach? Reviewing the specific goals you want to achieve will help narrow down your collection parameters. It could also be useful in crafting the right questions to ask your respondents. For example, when you’re expanding to a different location, your data gathering methods should find out if there are an appropriate niche and a lucrative market in the area.
Determine data requirements.
Once you know which goals your data must fulfill, you should determine the parameters of your collection methods. First, check if you’re already collecting the data you need. That will help cut down your dark data rate and prevent you from exerting effort gathering information you already have.
See if you can meet your data requirements with internal data, such as customer information, sales figures, or expenditures. If not, which external data source your company needs to meet it. Sources of external data include social media networks and other data collection services.
Finally, conceptualize your data management procedure. When coming up with a questionnaire, make sure to chose appropriate formats. For example, a Likert scale is the best method for gauging opinions and attitudes.
Identify data management structure.
Just like every aspect of your business, data needs to be carefully managed if you want it to become a valuable part of your strategy. Effective data management helps improve the quality of your information and any connected endeavor. First, choose an appropriate person to be responsible for data quality assessment. Their job is to make sure your information is accurate and up to date.
Part of data management is ensuring continued access to your data sources. With internal data, make sure you have a secure and continuous link to wherever you store the information. If you’re relying on external data, determine if you could lose access to their resources and prepare alternatives.
Protect your data.
You also need to protect any data you collect from unauthorized access. Hackers and malicious software can pry into your data troves and cause untold damage. A recent report by IBM discovered that the average cost of a data breach to be over $3.80 million. A data breach can also do irreparable damage to your customers’ trust in your business. Make sure you use modern and reliable methods of protecting business data and avoid such collateral damage.
Knowledge is power. It’s the power to provide your customers with better experiences. It’s the power to improve your employee’s working conditions, and it’s the power to ensure your business manages to thrive in any environment. Guarantee your business’s success today by integrating data collection and management effectively.