Businesses today are generating information faster than ever, thanks to a huge repertoire of corporate applications and the social media. Internal business parameters like top selling products, the best customers, and the largest expenses are continuously telling stories about your company. The business in essence speaks to the sponsors, generating incessant feedback about its performance. The key point here being are you listening and taking action?
With information getting digitized and the market data also generating feedback in the same form, businesses are bombarded with exploding volume of data. However, data accuracy on the other hand is at an all time low. Consequently, though there is more data, listening to our businesses has become more difficult. So what is the way forward? The consequences of not listening to your business are significant; a framework has to be there so that it structures data and communicates the insight to the management periodically. In short, the system will leverage businesses to provide them with data edge which in turn will become competitive advantages for the firm.
The first step is to systematically capture and structure data. A robust technological platform will enhance and make it easier for businesses to adapt to this emerging data culture. Data algorithms and artificial intelligence structures are increasingly becoming cheaper, thereby allowing even medium sized businesses to invest in data initiatives.
The second step is obviously the interpretation and analysis of the data. Once you have the structured data at hand, you can easily apply sorting algorithms and Pareto rule to identify the key business drivers. It is important to know which products are generating 80 percent of your sales, who are your top of the line customers, which strategic business units are currently generating the most cash and which units will become the “Star” and lead the business into the future.
The final step lies in communicating the insights to the management. Whatever the data speaks must be converted to meaningful business implications. For example, if the data is saying a particular product isn’t doing well, the insight should cover what are the plausible reasons behind the fall in sales and what are the possible strategic way-outs. If the decline is because of price competitiveness, then should the business further cut prices or enhance the product itself to charge a premium price? Therefore, the business insights should be crisp and in the form of easily discernible visual models, that would enable the top management to take optimum decisions.
Current technologies allow firms to incorporate the “Voice of the Business” into their daily decision making model. They can easily leverage social media platforms using “Big Data” architecture – systems that allow businesses to structure the immense amount of data available through electronic channels. Market leaders are increasingly investing in data initiatives. Decisions based on data and structured analytical models are increasingly preferred over those based on intuition or gut feeling. So the time is now, listen to your business and what the market is telling you and leverage the data to ride into the information age.