The ability to gather and compile massive amounts of business-relevant data has been a game-changer for enterprises of all sizes, across all industries. By now, most business leaders realize that this information – referred to as ‘big data’ can help them refine operations, improve messaging for marketing and sales, drive increased ROI on many business actions, and shore up employee and customer retention as just a few examples.
Just making this connection that big data provides actionable strategies for operational improvement is not enough. There are other questions enterprises must answer as well. Where are we collecting all this information from? How do we convert something immense and evolving into something we can use to drive results?
Answering these questions will help transform your processes to be powered by big data, centered around digital insights in a strategic and purposeful manner. Below, we’ll detail further the keys to successfully leveraging big data to help power lasting, effective digital transformation.
Why Big Data is Key to Digital Transformation
Digital transformation is often powered by a focus on the end customer, member, or patient. Today, consumers are empowered, and actively shop around for businesses that can offer them what they need in a best-class manner – attractive prices and customer services, tailored offers, custom communication strategies all combine to create the type of customer experience that drives effective retention today. Information is the key that unlocks actionable insights about customer preferences for offerings and communications, and it helps power a digitally-oriented business as a whole.
Effectively mining big data for actionable insights provides enterprises the ability to satisfy client requirements. When data powers decision-making in this way: health insurance providers can tailor communications around preferred channels and delivery times, improving response rates; banks can target only homeowners with offers for new mortgage rates and products, instead of blanketing an entire mailing list; and, retailers can analyze historical data about purchasing habits, helping them shape their inventory levels more accurately; to name just a few examples.
According to a Gartner report on digital transformation, 41% of executive respondents said their company is already facing substantial industry transformation due to these trends. It’s time for every enterprise to take the necessary steps to stay ahead of the curve. To paraphrase a famous futurist, once a new technology rolls over – you can either be the pavement, or the steamroller.
With an understanding of the ways in-which big data is crucial to an effective, lasting digital transformation for a business – what are some actionable steps stakeholders can take to initiate such an undertaking?
Don’t use the experience of another enterprise to formulate your own digital transformation strategy – look at your own, unique strategic goals for both the short and long term, and formulate your plans around those.
To this end, avoid unspecific goals like ‘improve bottom line finances’. What is more effective is honing in on your unique operational pain points or areas of improvement. Some more effective examples could include:
- Reducing costs or cycle times related to customer-facing processes such as bill collection
- Retaining more customers by improving communication, offer, and outreach strategies
- Collecting and listening to customer pain points to find gaps in the market that can be effectively leveraged
- Improving internal workflows to improve employee retention and productivity
- Improving the customer experience by examining groups of lost customers for commonalities in terms of accounts lost
Hone in on the Most Relevant Data
When you begin your digital transformation, you’ll likely find that there are both internal and external sources of relevant data. You’ll need to define exactly what is most useful to your goals. If you’re looking for insights into your customers and employees, CRM and ERP tools offer a rich source of data to mine for these areas. If you’re more interested in gaining wider insights into your market and how to gain a greater share of it, analyzing consumer behavior and sentiment across social media or ecommerce websites can provide a wealth of insights if you have the platforms and processes in place to analyze the data.
Putting it All Together in an Actionable Way
A degree in advanced analytics is not required to start many of the processes we’ve outlined – but you can’t do it all alone. To make data actionable, you need to be able to visualize it, manipulate it, and to look at various data sets from a central platform that provides simple, digestible report to share information with your team. There are tools and platforms available today that will allow you integrate with current technology and processes, and will help provide you with the insights necessary to improve them.
As 2018 swiftly approaches, it is crucial that enterprises understand how big data can help power effective, sustainable digital transformation. Those that recognize this trend, and take the necessary steps to help their enterprise leverage big data will stay competitive into the future. The ones that fail to capitalize on these new opportunities very well may not. The time has come for every enterprise to incorporate big data into business operations to power effective digital transformation.