The value of knowing what you want: How to make your data work for you

Data doesn’t guarantee insight. Getting your money’s worth requires a considered approach from the very beginning.

Businesses of all types are beginning to incorporate data and analytics initiatives into their digital strategy to utilise the massive volumes of data they generate to uncover new areas of value and growth.

Yet every day, many of these businesses fail to find what they’re looking for as they’re objectives are unclear.

Taking the wrong approach to big data, AI and machine learning initiatives can leave you in an expensive mess. Get it right from the beginning, and great things will happen.

In this article, we’ll run through the key areas you need to focus on to ensure your data-centric approach is generating amazing ROI – rather than draining your resources.

Starting on the right foot

To use data and analytics to your advantage, you need to know what you want to achieve before you start. Without this direction from the get-go, the vast potential of data at your fingertips can remain abstract, out of reach and unusable as a tool for growth.

For example, AI and big data initiatives are changing marketing in a big way, and many companies are rushing to implement the latest tech to their advantage. However, as the tech is still in its adolescence, many companies are approaching data in the wrong way or with misguided intentions.

While Big data, AI and machine learning systems are powerful tools, they still require skilled human management and advanced data management practices to be utilised effectively.

If you’re just getting started with analytics-based initiatives, it’s vital that you plan ahead to put the right procedures in place.

Upfront planning

To ensure your efforts aren’t a total waste of time and money, you need to understand your reasons for using data in the first place.

Without a clear picture of your objectives (what you’re hoping to uncover and what you’re hoping to use this insight to achieve) it’s easy to get lost amongst the immensity of your data.

Too many businesses are rushing head-first into data initiatives they don’t understand in the hope of taking control of their wealth of data and finding actionable insights that will fuel their growth. However, without careful planning, the amount of value this approach can uncover is limited.

For example, if your goal is to uncover better business insights. You may start off by unifying data from various data sources used across your business.

However, unification alone may not give you what you’re looking. And diving into this process could result in a lot of time and money spent for very little return value.

To ensure positive results for your business, it’s imperative that you put in place the necessary foundational elements at the outset.

3 key aspects of data management that need to be considered upfront:

  • Data handling (the storage of data)
  • Data governance (the way data is managed and analysed)
  • Effective Integration (the way data is used for your business)

If you’re getting started with a new approach to digital, download our digital strategy guide.

Tool selection

As well as planning, another key element in getting the most out of your data initiatives is tool selection.

Finding insight within vast datasets is an intricate and complicated undertaking. To do this properly, you need to be smart about your approach and the tools you use.

While the needs of every business will differ, there are some core areas that apply to all. When identifying the right tools and platforms, make sure they are:

  • Cost-effective – for maximum ROI
  • Integrated – able to connect directly to your systems
  • Scalable – allowing for future growth
  • Suitable – for your specific aims, needs, processes, etc.

With these bases covered, you will be able to uncover relevant actionable insights that support genuine growth for your business.

Seeing the future

With a handle on your data, you can easily move from insights about past performance and activity to evidence-based foresights that can steer you effectively into the future – allowing you to tap into evolving audience demands and desires.

In order to be successful with data, you need to embrace the latest tech, taking the time to understand its value and doing everything necessary to support its proper usage.