Paul King, MD, Fieldology looks at the next stage of data capture – how brands should be using technology to bring the insights to life and why this is vital in enabling them to meet the broader business objectives.
Data – whether big and small – has become pivotal for brands looking to unlock insights around customer preferences and behaviour. In today’s connected world, data-driven insights are the only vehicle through which brands can achieve better engagement and a more targeted customer experience, enabling them to remain market leading and maintain long-term relationships. As a result, customer expectations and demands have evolved and continue to do so. The pace of change is rapid and businesses have no option but to keep up if they want to see returns.
Whilst the industry has certainly become wiser to the need for data collection and analysis, this is only the first stage in the process. Many brands are still failing to look beyond initial data gathering to consider broader business goals and how data insights can help to achieve them. Technological capabilities mean data should now be worked harder and used within a business to enable better decisions. This is where the true value for both customer and brand lies and will mark the difference between delivering a successful ROI or not.
The data is out there for the taking, but how should businesses ensure they are looking at it’s capabilities in a new way? How should they move beyond simple data capture to unlock the opportunities that technology can offer, bringing the vital insights to life?
Data certainly enables businesses to do things more efficiently, but as with everything, there must be a well thought out structure behind it, if it’s going to bring success. Gaining clarity on the business objectives and mapping these alongside technology and data capabilities is a crucial place to begin. It’s no surprise that brands are failing to make the best use of data if they are unsure of what they are trying to achieve in the first place. Whether it’s enabling a responsive, real-time product tracking system or giving field teams the information required to make faster, more confident decisions whilst in-store, investing in planning around business goals will ensure the best solutions are being implemented to deliver significant results across the business as a whole.
With vast quantities of customer data being generated every day, businesses must have a plan in place to ensure only the most relevant insights are being captured, analysed and re-invested. Whilst larger quantities of data could potentially provide a deeper understanding into customer preferences, in this instance, the quality of the data should always outweigh the quantity. Being armed with actionable data is a strong position for businesses to be in, and will see them able to better meet customer needs. Having the correct workflow systems in place is part of this process and will help deliver seamless distribution of the data to the correct areas of the business, but this will only be achieved if the technology has been aligned with business needs.
Removing silos across the business is also crucial. The needs of one area of the business are likely to be vastly different to another, so getting the complete view of the organisation is a must. Data insights will only create value if they are brought to life in an efficient way that truly meets the needs of those using them. Businesses that aren’t thinking beyond the data collection stage will quickly find themselves lost amongst reams of data they are failing to use correctly, or indeed at all. Seeking advice on where the correct technology solutions and processes can be implemented to take businesses to the next level, and unlock data distribution efficiency will create a much more streamlined approach within the business.
Getting the basics correct to gather the data in the first place is a must, but organisations should now move beyond this if they want to make the best use of these insights. Understanding how technology can be implemented to bring insights to life across the organisation, which crucially meets broader business goals, is where data will add true value. Get the technology right from the outset, and businesses will be in a stronger position to make actionable, more efficient decisions.
Whilst large organisations have traditionally invested in multi-million pound, long-term IT solutions, factors including the time taken to implement these systems, financial risk and lack of flexibility, all contribute to a real challenge in identifying the potential return on investment. As these types of approaches continue to be implemented, significant opportunities to influence positive change are being lost. Businesses must be investing in much more dynamic approaches that are better suited to the new needs of customers, enable reliable results measurement and allow them to respond rapidly.
Today’s market requires businesses to be continually looking for ways to improve their offering. Technological evolution has given brands the tools to look at data capabilities in new, different and result-driven ways, now it’s down to them to take action and bring the insights to life.