In the past, the focus was gathering the data, not analyzing it. Today, gathering the data is an automated process, and business intelligence is coming in as the knowledge worker.
You have the opportunity to do enormous things with data and take your business in a far grander direction. Here are six steps to turn your data into a competitive advantage.
1. Have the best data
No matter what business you are in, you are in the business of information. Today, all organizations compete for information in the modern competitive landscape. Having better information and well performing information will put you ahead of competitors. Having better information enables you to make smart decisions about your customers. That is truly what companies are competing on today.
2. Do something with your data
Data that flows through the organization that never gets picked up and used is useless. You need to turn data into active information that helps you achieve real business goals. Information is the modern gold of an organization. There is a bridge between data and information that has to be architected so that you can journey across and achieve your business goals.
3. Have set goals for your data
When you’re working with data, you’re working with something that the business cares about. In order to have those real results on the business, you’ve got to impact the business in a certain way. Use data and information to move forward in directions that will ultimately result in more sales for your business or reduce costs.
4. Connect the dots with data
Use the data you’ve accumulated over the years and integrate it with the rest of your business. According to William McKnight, author of Strategies for Gaining a Competitive Advantage with Data, “It’s not just spitting out information for the sake of it, it’s actually trying to connect the dots between previous transactions, current transactions, and potential future transactions.”
5. Ensure everyone is responsible for the data
Now that data and technology are no longer considered alien concepts to anyone, we’re all responsible for it, and we’re all expected to do our jobs better on a daily basis by using information and technology. Ensure your entire company has access to the data and technology necessary to grow and excel. That alone puts you at an advantage.
6. Keep your data clean
It is guaranteed that your data will decay. Forge a program of data stewardship to define a high level of data quality. Data standards come in various forms, and every organization is going to be a little bit different. Start by striving for 100% perfect data quality.
Data is no longer an opportunity. It is an asset that your organization must use, and you can use it to your competitive advantage.
Learn more in the ebook, Gaining a Competitive Advantage with Data, featuring myself and William McKnight.