Big data is everywhere, permeating everything – there’s no denying that. In the rush to keep up with the trends, however, some businesses are collecting all kinds of data and investing in tools without a strategy or purpose. What are you doing about big data?
To get meaningful insights from big data, you need to focus on the right numbers: the ones that have an impact on your business. Here are some best practices that integrators can follow for using data to their advantage.
Weed Out Bad Data
Ask the right questions to find out whether the data at your disposal is relevant to company goals. Does the information provide the right type of insight to drive your company forward or does it miss the mark? For example, you can disregard data that comes from any group other than your target audience. Focus instead on data that measures what your audience wants, likes, shares, and buys to maximize marketing efforts.
The amount of data available to companies is massive. Late last year, I explained how to change lakes of data into streams of useful data – the key word being “useful.” Be picky about the data you collect and analyze, and remember: You don’t need a lake. Shape your business strategy around a useful data stream, and make sure it’s not data for the sake of data. Without a solid strategy for the data you collect, your efforts will be fruitless.
Managing non-useful data is a waste of resources. You’ll spend manpower you could use elsewhere developing data that has no practical business application. If you’re having trouble differentiating the good data from the bad, you’re not alone. Try these tips for determining which data is worth analyzing:
- Determine Your Business Goals. Creating a focus for your company’s efforts will allow you to trim the fat from your data collection and center it on a real purpose. If you need to generate awareness for a new product, focus data collection on this effort. If you want people to click on your blog, collect data with this goal in mind. A clearly defined target will help you navigate the data waters.
- Measure Your Progress. To make data useful, you need a way to measure its reach. Use a monitoring tool to track the amount of success certain data has in relation to your business. If information ascertained from a specific social media platform is greatly increasing conversion rates, continue collecting that type of data and allocate additional time to leveraging it to your advantage.
- Ask Yourself: “So What?” If a piece of data intrigues you and your, team but you don’t quite know what to do with it, ask yourself: “So what?” Even if the data is intriguing, it may not be the right information to concentrate on. Data distracts everyone at some point. Stay focused by asking yourself how it relates to your business plan.
Put Data in Its Place
The expansive growth of data collection tools continues, but companies need to know what they want – and then line up the right resources to get it. Data collection and storage technologies today are comprehensive, as long as you have the tools and know-how to use them correctly.
For example, the sheer volume of data your business collects can pose a storage problem unless you know how to leverage modern technologies. Data storage should not be static; instead, you must store it in a system that allows your people to access it on demand, alter it according to new findings, and organize it in a way that makes it searchable.
Your data strategy must be complete, optimized, and available to the rest of your team. The software you choose to manage your data must be user-friendly so that your entire team understands how to navigate it. This may seem like a small step, but it’ll save time and help everyone communicate.
Incorporate Cyber Safety
Your data strategy should also incorporate a plan for privacy and security. If competitors can use the data you collect, it’s no advantage to you. As the competition for access to big data grows, you must enact solid measures of data protection to keep your company ahead of the market curve.
Every company wants a return on investment on data collection immediately, but that’s not generally how it works. Instead, the best data collection measures take time and money to institute. A few of those measures include hiring analysts, infrastructure architects, and security experts, as well as paying for collection, storage, and organization tools. Making big data small with enhanced technologies will ultimately benefit your company for years to come.
With a focused goal, a plan to measure progress, and a dedicated data team, your company can leverage today’s overabundance of information for tomorrow’s profit. —Dan Newman, Cofounder of V3*Broadsuite
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