Rethinking data strategies: Shifting the focus from technology to insights

Big data is big business

Data is the world’s most valuable resource. It can inform everything from how long you brush your teeth in the morning to paying your mortgage. According to Statista, the global big data market will grow to $103 billion by 2027, more than double its expected market size in 2018. 

The world we live in today is ever more connected and as a result data is ever more accessible to consumers, businesses and everyone in between.

For businesses, this represents a golden opportunity. Data represents the customer, and it provides insight into their wants, needs and opinions, which businesses can tailor to design and market their products and services. 

Many businesses are doing just that. Before the pandemic, 53% of global organisations adopted big data technology, and as we move to a post-COVID-19 world, data will be even more crucial. It will enable businesses to make cost-effective decisions and adapt to changing customer behaviours.

Some businesses, however, fail to question the technological infrastructure in which data is being collected, limiting the potential for driving business growth and understanding their customers better.

Questioning the technological infrastructure of data

Internet users generate quintillion bytes of data each day, and as data grows, businesses can analyse this data in a targeted way and use it to inform business decisions that add value for their customer base.

To achieve this companies need to start questioning the technological infrastructure of the data they collect. Firstly, what do you want to learn about your business and your customer? Once a business focuses on targeted data collection, it can inform greater understanding of your customers and their needs. 

Currently, many businesses do not question their infrastructure, as they fail to ask this simple question before accelerating technological innovation. They see data as an opportunity to amass knowledge on their customers, but in a cluttered and often unintelligible way.

Essentially, businesses are not harnessing data to its full potential. So, how can a redefined data strategy, that focuses on insights, correct this?

Using insights-based data collection to know your customer better

We need to redefine data strategy. Businesses need to move away from collecting data for data’s sake. Instead, we need to focus on data-driven technological innovation that delivers meaningful customer experiences, using targeted data to provide the right insights about customers.

Today, businesses are collecting data en masse. But what are the benefits of collecting this data? What insight does it provide about customers or competitors?

Most businesses believe they know their customer profile, and acquire more technology and data to meet this perceived customer profile. By rethinking data strategies, however, and exploring the value of the data being collected and how it is being collected, businesses will understand their customers’ wants and needs more effectively. 

Indeed, knowing your customer is not only about tracking and tracing their behaviour digitally, you first need to define what kind of data insight you want to learn from your customer. Then you can work out how to leverage new data insights amassed through a targeted data collection to deliver tailored features back to the customer quickly and easily – engaging customers in a product or service when they need it most.

Moving away from the traditional data strategy 

Moving your traditional data strategy away from conventional channels and shifting to a targeted, always-on model will create new insights and benefits for the business and its customers. 

The approach some companies are turning towards is assembling a best-in-breed stack, built around a central data layer. This allows businesses to collect customer data at once, and then connect it to all of the leading solutions through server-to-server integrations. The data layer itself can be served by a data warehouse, consisting of a searchable interface that provides consistent and compliant data sets.

Once a data layer is in place, it’s relatively easy to serve multiple purposes. For example, businesses can add multiple tasks in parallel, such as creating a machine learning model to automatically provide personalised information while building live data analytics dashboards in order to discover new business insights or user behaviours.

Adopting the right technology and ensuring it is used effectively alongside data to drive business outcomes is no longer ‘a nice to have’ for businesses around the world – creating an effective data strategy is now essential to a company’s success. So, how can businesses rethink their data strategy in the future?

The future of data strategy

As technology leaders, we must prioritise data-driven innovation that provides added value in the future. In an ultra-connected world with new technologies disrupting all sectors, technology should be designed and adopted for a purpose. We must avoid accelerating technology that does not meet our needs, and a targeted data strategy is essential to achieve this.

In many ways, data strategy is simple. It is all about learning how you can improve your business value and customer experience using data insights. In a post-COVID-19 world, to drive business outcomes and stand out from competitors, businesses need to rethink traditional data strategies, and focus on data-driven innovation that is aligned with customer expectations.

About the Author

Jieke Pan is CTO and VP of Engineering at Mobiquity. Mobiquity is a digital consultancy that partners with the world’s leading brands to design and deliver compelling digital products and services for their customers. Our approach balances human needs with usefully applied technology, unbound creativity with research and analytics, and agile development with strict engineering and security standards.

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