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Big data, analytics, and competitive advantage

by Randall Craig on May 12, 2017

Filed in: Blog, Data, Digital Strategy, Make It Happen Tipsheet

Tagged as: ,

Ask your CEO, and they will say that your greatest asset is your people. Ask your marketing chief, and the answer will be your brand. And ask your CFO, your value is determined by your revenue or EBITDA. But is it possible that they may all be wrong… or may soon be? (Hint: how would your CIO answer?)

The profusion of systems has led to a bumper crop of data. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and all of the other social media sites track the beginning of the journey, while marketing automation tracks the latter part of it. CRM systems track prospect and client activity, while ERP systems track both “delivery” and financials. Other systems track post-sales service activity, while the organization’s websites (internet, extranet, and intranet) generate even more data. Finally, data can be shared from suppliers, clients, and other partners, or purchased from third parties to further enrich what you already have.

While the term “big data” has been around for a number of years already, the reality for most organizations is that they have a “big data mess.”  To begin extracting value from this asset, consider your organization’s data analytics maturity:

  • Level zero: Does not collect data.  Relies on gut to make decisions. (And sporadic market research.)
  • Level I: Collects data within separate systems; reviews data sporadically.
  • Level II: Data architecture that combines and “relates” all of the data from the disparate systems, so that it can later be used. Data is cleansed, and duplicate records removed. The reason all this is possible is that a specific person has been assigned the role of data steward/master data manager. Unfortunately, the data is not generally accessible, except through difficult programming or special requests.
  • Level III: Specific slices of the data are exposed in real-time for better decision-making. Each role may have a different dashboard, depending on their responsibilities, while standard reports are used throughout the organization.
  • Level IV: The data is proactively plumbed for insights, risks, and opportunities.  Internal and external data are married to provide higher order insights and competitive advantage.

Most organizations are at Level zero or I, yet aspire to Level IV without doing the heavy lifting required of Levels II and III. Building competitive advantage through data is just not possible without an investment in systems, an ongoing investment in data quality, and data analytics.

This week’s action item:  What level are you at?  This week, begin the process of moving to the next level by socializing these concepts with your colleagues: share this Tipsheet to begin the conversation.

This year’s action time:  Systems and data quality are easy, but proactive data analytics is a skill most organizations do not have, and often, do not understand.  Over the next year, identify a person or group that can do this, either internally or externally.

Related post:  Data/Information/Intelligence.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com

www.108ideaspace
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www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com

 

About 

Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail’s GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released “Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business”, and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at randallcraig.com and 108ideaspace.com.

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