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Data has a lot in common with crude oil. Being in high demand, many people are scrambling to collect these resources as much as possible.
In fact, man think they have fuelled the growth of industry and society of their respective eras. Many economic experts consider data as the new 'black gold,' supplanting fossil fuel.
However, one aspect that distinguishes data from oil is that it doesn't get spent.
Old data is still usable as a supplement to new data, helping entrepreneurs make more informed decisions and better prepare their businesses for the future.
It's estimated that the amount of available global data will increase by 59 per cent annually, so there won't be any shortage anytime soon. (1)
Giving data a more prominent role in business growth is one thing, but harnessing it is another. With that in mind, consider the following ways to make your business more data-driven:
Mind the metrics
Improving a business first requires knowing the areas that need improvement.
Choosing the right metrics, also known as key performance indicators (KPIs), is crucial in tracking its growth. But what are the right metrics?
Business experts say there are three factors to consider when picking KPIs. They should:
- be closely related to the main objectives,
- have adequate room for improvement, and
- inspire the team to take decisive action. (2)
With dozens of KPIs from which to choose, only select the ones that matter the most.
For instance, a company that aims to measure the quality of its sales enablement should focus on time-based metrics such as turnover rate and time sales reps spend on selling goods.
Measuring anything else increases the risk of losing sight of a business's actual goals.
Fortunately, determining the suitable metrics is much easier than before, thanks to technology.
In the case mentioned, modern sales enablement software is designed with the necessary KPIs in mind.
That way, companies can identify the aspects that need improvement, driving other metrics up, such as sales quality and revenue.
Make data access easier
While it's true that data has become more easily accessible over the years, it's only half the issue resolved.
The other half - enabling anyone regardless of their know-how to work with that data comfortably - remains an obstacle. Achieving both aspects defines this budding principle known as data democratisation.
The need to make data access more convenient stems from these challenges:
- Not enough access to crucial data
- Lack of trust in the data
- Lack suitable skills to process the data
- Ill-suited analytics for product teams
- Experts too busy to help handle the data (3)
Given these challenges, achieving data democratisation is as much of a cultural question as it is functional.
Every level in the business hierarchy must have the right tools and skill sets to access and process data without needing years of data science under their belt (some training still helps).
Data democratisation yields beneficial results, especially when the public has enough access.
Local institutions can, for instance, construct an interactive map that shows geographical and political data for citizens and visitors. Imagine the processes that can be streamlined if everyone had equivalent access to data.
Be certain about uncertainties
A great mind once said that the only certain things in life are death and taxes. That's why it's not unusual for people to consider the things they're unsure of, like the weather and abrupt changes in their lives.
Running a business is no exception; there are as many uncertainties as in the lives of business owners.
The ongoing pandemic is an example. Could most people, if not all, have predicted the extent of the harm it befell businesses big and small?
The shock that entrepreneurs felt during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic suggests otherwise.
Now that the worst health crisis since the Spanish flu has happened, it's normal to think that the future's more uncertain than ever.
In this situation, data will be more critical. Entrepreneurs will find themselves making decisions with incomplete information more often, at which the quality of the data on hand matters.
It also dictates the steps to take in mitigating uncertainty in business operations - none of which will be easy.
Remember that these are only preliminary steps - a business that completely adapts to data-driven operations must take further steps to maintain it.
Nevertheless, the first few steps can mean the difference between a company's rise and fall in any market. There's no reason that data will stop being as essential as crude oil, so businesses are urged to make the most of it.