Unawareness in organizations is as pronounced a problem as cancer in the human beings. Unawareness that results from improper collaboration or absence of information exchange between business units creates departmental silos. Organizations tolerate such silos because in order to fix them, they need to make some very fundamental changes in the way they operate, and they feel that this is difficult, risky and may jeopardize with the work environment that they are used to.
Big data and business analytics help to knock down such silos!
An introduction to Big Data Analytics
With digital transformation slowly and steadily taking over today’s businesses, the world is becoming increasingly digital. This leads to the generation of massive amounts of data, called Big Data.
Organizations now get access to specific information from their external and internal operations, customers and employees. But at the same time, this huge volume of data that is generated is useless, until it is leveraged to provide directions to help organizations chart new courses of action. This is done by big data and business analytics (BDA) solutions.
BDA has proven to be a game changer technology for both small and large businesses alike as it helps them in breaking down information of the past performance to strategize for the future. Data analytics helps fine-tune sales and marketing and drive increased ROI by measuring the efficacy of all organizational operations in real time.
“IDC Forecasts Revenues for Big Data and Business Analytics Solutions Will Reach $189.1 Billion This Year with Double-Digit Annual Growth Through 2022.” – IDC
Business analytics has a number of use cases and helps businesses gain competitive advantage. For example, international burger chain McDonald’s uses data analytics to provide personalized services to international customers. Today, private sector banks, insurance companies and credit card companies, all leverage data analytics to know more about their customers and thus, minimize their risk factor. It also finds application in human resource management, customer relationship management, supply chain management and more.
“Digital transformation is a key driver of BDA spending with executive-level initiatives resulting in deep assessments of current business practices and demands for better, faster, and more comprehensive access to data and related analytics and insights. Enterprises are rearchitecting to meet these demands and investing in modern technology that will enable them to innovate and remain competitive. BDA solutions are at the heart of many of these investments.”- Dan Vesset, group vice president, Analytics and Information Management at IDC.*
BDA provides driving stimulus for any organization in the form of insights and is thus, a critical consideration factor for businesses today, if they wish to lead from all the fronts.
Here are four ways business analytics helps break down traditional operational silos and inspires an organization to transform itself for the betterment:
Identify goals with descriptive and predictive analysis
Business analytics combines informational technology data, statistical data and leverages different quantitative methods and computer-based models, to help streamline digital transformation efforts of an organization. It helps decision makers get all possible scenarios to come to a researched and well-thought-out decision. This kind of information exposure enables decision makers to understand and analyze the present and past situation. Thus, descriptive analysis helps them assess their present market position and effectiveness of previous business decisions.
Business analytics also help in predictive analysis with which a business formulates techniques to optimize its resources and obtain better performance. For example, a retail business can decide pricing and discounts on its products better, if it’s aware of the pattern and relationship between products sold within a particular time period, their prices and discounts offered during that period.
Create innovative sales and marketing strategies
In today’s world of millennial buyers, it’s important to adapt to the shifting culture and convey the right brand messaging across. Insight-driven organizations are more successful as they do ‘smart marketing’ by tracking and analyzing what works and what doesn’t rather than playing the guessing game.
There are various channels on which customers are active. You just need to know the right numbers that you should collect. You have various tools to track strategic marketing metrics like site traffic, unique visits etc.; statistics from marketing campaigns like click rate, bounce rate, etc.; social media metrics like impressions, reach and engagement, help you understand your audience. Once you have this data, you can analyze how many actually converted to paid customers and their cost of acquisition.
After all, what use is getting them to the door, if they are not going to enter the mansion?
One more thing to take into consideration is that data is literally everywhere, some places you wouldn’t even have considered, for example, while listing the marketing metrics above, we deliberately missed search engine optimization and pay-per-click figures. Did you notice?
The point is, you actually need to bring your data out of the box as you miss out on most insights when you silo data.
SO, it’s important to collate all data from different sources as the more data.. the better will be the insights that you can obtain.
Optimize costs and enhance productivity
A successful business is one that manages its finances in a properly planned way. Once you have invested X amount in an operation, it’s important to keep on tracking and analyzing so as to get the intended return on investment (ROI). You need to update your business plan from time to time and that can only be done when you get regular and real-time financial metrics, including loans, cash flow, working capital, profits, losses etc. This will help you optimize your costs.
Big data analytics helps businesses in solving most productivity problems by providing research-driven, working solutions. Knowing where you need to make changes, help you to take decisions quickly, thereby, enhancing the overall productivity of the organization.
Once you take a decision, you can again track its consequences on a regular basis, helping you decide whether the actions taken were appropriate or not. This will help you in balancing out your decisions and set clear future strategies.
Lead competition with your awareness
There will be no progress, if there are no benchmarks.
Competitor analysis may help you do your SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat) analysis. But, collecting data that other organizations use for their strategies can never provide you with a starting point for pursuing your goals. Your business is unique and thus, you need to look at your long- and short-term goals and create a list of your challenges.
In order to analyze the complete situation, convert big data chunks into usable insights to meet objectives like:
- Improve productivity with better employee experience.
- Reduce attrition rate.
- Provide better customer experience.
- Retain and use data of your existing customers for upselling and cross-selling.
- Optimize costs.
Your in-house tools, marketplace, CRM and ERP tools will provide enough data on both employees and customers, to work upon. Also, keep conducting market analysis and reviewing your business performance to assess your market positioning. Create business reports using different tools to analyze brand interactions and consumer behavior. This kind of continual business review offers you the opportunity to step back, take a look at the factors affecting your growth and market direction to make changes to your plans.
You can also collect feedback data directly from your customers which will not only help you to find out the areas of improvement like products/services, technologies, support etc. but will also help you to know your customer and develop a long-term relationship with them.
Incorporating business data analytics into business strategies help organizations to break down traditional operational silos, maximize results and minimize costs with strategic and directional adjustments. When you know what customers and your employees are doing at present, you become capable of creating future projections. Implementing them helps you address their needs and reach your organizational goals quickly and effectively.
Hence, in today’s digital world, it’s imperative for all businesses to adopt business data analytics solutions.
You can inspire data and analytics change at your organization – sign up for Chief Data Analytics Officers, Canada, taking place this September in Toronto. For more information and to register, visit their website here.