Not becoming a Data Scientist..

A perpetuated myth that has been around since the introduction of ‘tech culture’ has been that the CEO only needs to understand basic metrics, with the real analysis being done at different levels within the company. This reliance on data tools and specialised individuals is needed to streamline operations, but it is a mistake to assume that as a CEO you don’t also require at some level the same ability to understand the data presented to you.

What we do know is data-driven companies are more likely to outperform competitors and build the infrastructure behind a sustainable company. Therefore, the knowledge gaps between CEOs and data scientists require being addressed within companies.

For those who operate across ‘non-digital’ companies, the idea of data driven solutions often seems relatively overwhelming. We hire those with technical expertise to pull together the information required to understand data sets, and analyse them to leverage best industry practices. Executives who expect their digital activities to have a direct impact on margins and tracking effectiveness ultimately require a deeper understanding into how to analyse these elements.

Managing commercial hurdles becomes far more difficult when there is less involvement from a leadership level on how analytics efforts are impacting both online and offline activities. Often, CEOs feel this gap persists around how the data is used within a company and how to best understand the delivery. While an issue that can be easily solved by aligning the right people within your company, it is far easier for CEOs to understand the power of data driven solutions than they may realise.

With data tools at our fingertips, the ability to think critically about data and how that corresponds with industry knowledge allows a more realistic expectation about your company’s health and market impact. Effectively tracking and understanding the critical roles each tool plays, the data begins to tell an overall story.

Focusing on simply one metric, rather than understanding the diversity of the data sources and how they all interplay, risks overlooking integral elements that require attention. It therefore becomes near impossible to truly understand how best to remain competitive, despite the right ‘data’ being fed into your ecosystem.

There are multiple data sources and tools to analyse, but at the very core of data-centric decision- making should be just two simple questions:

1. Does this data provide a complete view of our customers, their behaviours and how best to engage them?

When the data being analysed is nothing more than metrics that don’t tell a story, companies lose the distinct opportunity to truly understand how best to meet their market. Using big and small data to truly get a handle on what drives our customers is becoming imperative in gaining critical insight into what is working and what is not. By treating the segmented data collected as the basis for forming strategies from both a communications angle and also to improve customer loyalty, it becomes part of the process in better understanding roadblocks. Customer needs and in particular, their evolving priorities, requires agility on behalf of the company to adapt, therefore technology must be agile and analysts must be across all data sources.

2. Do we have the pricing intelligence to enable dynamic changes across industry?

Gaining competitive advantage is often the difference between succeeding or simply surviving, and not truly understanding the results could mean getting the intelligence wrong and developing blind spots in how your product compares in market. Having the tools to understand the seismic shifts across your competitors increases the probability of being able to effectively service customers in real time at a level that enhances both experience and behaviour. While understanding that customer loyalty is diminishing, pricing intelligence allows critical insights into how best to connect with customers and secure a transaction.

Rather than viewing multiple sources of data as imposing analytics that are reported intermittently, executives now have the unique opportunity to operate a business in real time and correlate performance with data underpinning outcomes.

This is about arming a team with all available resources to compete, in a strategic way that allows all levels within the organisation to understand the most valuable of insights – what actually works. BFM

Michael Stone is Director of Products at Invigor Group where he is responsible for the company’s portfolio of business intelligence and big data solutions.

Business First is a peer-to-peer magazine: written by CEOs and other high level executives, with interviews with some of the country’s best leaders.

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