We are living in a world that is currently dominated by information. We are in the information era, and we are currently operating in the Big Data Economy. Previously, real estate was a big factor in determining the success of businesses, but we are now confronted by a virtual reality that does not allow corporates to grow without any online presence. Some of the fastest growing companies today are analytics companies, and they thrive because of the value they offer businesses in terms of insight, profit maximization and opportunity scouting. The internet is for everyone, but it is not the only source of data and analytics. Every business generates plenty of data that could potentially shape its future for the better. In a world where business acumen stands no chance against the power of insightful data, the strongest indicator of business intelligence and acumen is the will and skill to collect and use data for future profitability.
Navigating the Sea of Information for Business Management
It is quite impossible for individuals to navigate the earth’s land surface thoroughly. It is too wide, and most adventurers always had to narrow down their travels to certain niches that satisfied their curiosity. The entire land mass occupies only 29 percent of planet earth’s surface. Therefore, you can tell just how impossible it is for anyone, no matter how skilled or passionate, to sail across the five seas and the seven oceans. If it were possible, would it even be worth it? Well, perhaps it would be for academic reasons, but business people will always have the need to focus their time and resources on the particulars that present them with the prospect of profit maximization. The sea of information is definitely much bigger than the seas and the oceans. In fact, as 95 percent of the sea remains unexplored, business people should, perhaps, refrain from consuming too much information that does not concern their businesses. So, how should we use the information in our business decision making?
Collecting Data for Business
Every day, Businesses generate valuable data that could be used to improve their efficiency. The information comes from the clients that they serve, from the way employees conduct themselves, and from suppliers and distributors. Most companies and retailers fail to harness the power that is hidden in such information because they do not:
- Store the data
- Classify the data
- Analyze the data
- Apply insights from the data
It is true that businesses require more data than just that. However, it is common sense that knowledge acquisition always moves from the known to the unknown. Even before studying your competition and international trends, you should, first of all, study your internal processes. That way, you will learn what makes your business survive or thrive. External data cannot be very helpful if you do not have a database with which you could compare and contrast. In fact, this simple practice could drastically improve the internal efficiency of your operations. Moreover, it would not require you to employ advanced skills or software for web scraping and data analysis; you would only require simple tools such as spreadsheets.
Incorporate Data in Decision Making
Join the 40 percent of top-performing companies which use data analysis to gain insights into their decision making. How else would you know where you missed and future opportunities lie? Engage in activities that point out the gainful strategies which your competition uses to get ahead of you. However, as earlier determined, you should never be led on by data. You should always know how to use data and which data is applicable. The following are a few pointers on how to save time and money in your data analysis endeavors.
- Set targets
- Determine the data needed to improve operations
- Classify data
- Design easy-to-retrieve data storage
- Analyze data periodically
- Employ useful insights
- Train personnel and cultivate suitable company culture