“The numbers don’t lie.”


You hear that all the time. Even if it’s mostly true, the numbers can be slippery, cryptic, and, at times, two-faced.

Whether they represent findings about your customers, products, or employees, they can be maddeningly open to interpretation or misinterpretation

With big data getting ever bigger and infiltrating more and more parts of your business, the need for ways to understand the numbers  is becoming more acute.

“fundamentally rethink how the analysis of data can create value for themselves and their customers.”

Tom Davenport

Everyday billions of transactions are taking place and huge quantities of data are being collected, but how can you translate all this information, all these signals into knowledge to increase your bottom line?

The way the data is interpreted can lead to one set of data telling you an idea is not worth pursuing, while another will tell you it is; so which interpretation is right? Is big data enough? Aggregate numbers can tell you a lot, but they say very little about how individual customers are thinking and talking about your products. So is it possible to find a way to interpret the data to identify customer behaviour?

Cultivating a strong flow of intelligence can have a powerful impact on business strategy. Information on competitors is used by most businesses but few are using Big Data to look for the clues left by customers, on their path to purchase; what were the behaviours of prospects and existing clients prior to a sale?

Using transactional information and identifying the ‘path to purchase' of existing clients can help understand and identify potential clients even before they have made a conscious decision to buy!

So with this in mind it becomes  important for companies’ consumer-data teams to have someone who truly understands statistics. Data can appear disorganised, chaotic or random, so being able to interrogate, analyze and recognise patterns becomes an art in itself.

And are there times when you should completely ignore the data and go with your gut?

After all, companies often fail to analyse data in ways that enhance their understanding and neglect to make changes in response to new insights.

While recognizing companies struggle to make sense of information, what matters more than the type and quantity of the data, is establishing a deep corporate culture of evidence-based decision making. That means establishing one undisputed source of performance data, giving all decision makers feedback in real time (or close to it), updating business rules in response to facts, and providing coaching for decision makers. It also means encouraging everyone in the organization to use data more effectively.

When business-unit leaders invest in training for managers as well as end users, “pushing for the constant refinement of analytics tools, and tracking tool usage with new metrics,” companies do eventually transform themselves, bringing data-driven thinking into all aspects of the business and fulfilling the data’s vast potential.

Having data can add a lot of value to a company, but having data and not interpreting it right, is worth nothing. With the right interpretation and the right visualization, you can introduce new insights, and take hold of the opportunities that your data presents. It is time for a fresh view on old data.

“Companies spend a lot of time and money developing KPIs and generating reports. But is anyone actually reading these reports or is that time and money just going to waste? “

                                                                        KPMG

To reach the potential using Big Data, we have to ask the right questions and for each company these questions will differ; in being too focused on preconceived ideas can also blind us to the stories within the noise of data.

One aspect of data that can help all businesses increase their ROI is to get a deeper understanding of the behaviour of their customers and who is ‘In Market' to buy their product or service. This is particularly true for organisations that have high value products where the customer will have undertaken some kind of research prior to purchasing. This research is part of their ‘path to purchase'; websites they visited, what exhibitions they attended, purchases made etc., all contribute to the customer marketing behavior. 

Your website site visitors can become customers  as understanding their behaviour will enable marketing departments to focus advertising dollars  on target markets, getting adverts in front of purchasers.

In considering how big data insights can help your business, do you need to have the mind of a data scientist? While this will help, focusing on a key area of the business such as behaviorial marketing  can change the way companies view big data.

Learn how your company can benefit from ‘In Market' leads

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Source: 
https://home.kpmg.com/be/en/home/services/advisory/technology-advisory/data—insight
Harvard Business Review Insight Center Report (data to action)