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Enjoy Big Data Success With These Guidelines

– Contributed content –

Data and person graphic

(Gerd Altmann, Pixabay)

25 July 2018. Once upon a time, there was no such thing as big data. Regardless of the industry, bosses and leaders used one thing to make decisions: their gut. Yep, the human stomach has a lot to answer for concerning the successes and failures of the human race. Some choices were good, some were bad, and others were downright ugly. Business in the modern era is completely different though, right?

There’s no doubt that stats and facts and figures are as popular as ever. Certain sectors can’t do without them – healthcare, nutrition – yet the industries which are less stats-based are on the bandwagon too. Nowadays, it’s not rare to find a marketing executive poring over analytic software, trying to figure out who bounced and why. Big data holds the answer as long as you know where to look.

Still, only 12% of information is getting analyzed at present. A shocking 88% goes under the radar and this is one reason startups fail. They are leaving money on the table by neglecting their data. There is a lot more small, medium and massive corporations can do, but how are you supposed to leverage the stats? It’s not as if you’re a technician. Here are seven to consider.

Figure out KPIs

KPIs are Key Performance Indicators and they give an insight into the success of the company. As a general rule, if the numbers point towards the KPIs doing well, then the business is on the right track. So, all you have to do is come up with a selection of them and operate the firm around them. How hard can it be? It’s a rhetorical question as there are lots of hurdles along the way.

The first is to figure out which performance indicators to choose as the focal point. Businesses that pick poorly will focus on the wrong things and the data will only reinforce failure. The trick is to ask questions. Why are you changing the marketing strategy? Why is this button on the website going to make a difference? Answering your own queries is an excellent way to gain perspective.

The second problem is defining and putting them into action. Your skill set has nothing to do with science or data infrastructure, and you might do more harm than good. Therefore, it’s wise to outsource this task to someone with experience. Services providers are almost always a fantastic choice because their job centers on numbers.

Concentrate on drivers

There’s a lot of data to go around, and it’s tricky to focus on one. In fact, businesses tend to take them all into account in a bid to cover every base. Let’s start by saying this is a mistake. Not only is it a massive waste of time and resources, but it’s a losing battle. The quest for perfection is never ending so it’s essential to pick your battles. This is where drivers come into the conversation.

In simple terms, they are the areas which push the company forward. By concentrating on them, the firm is more likely to be successful as it will complete the jobs which are urgent. Plus, there is an efficiency argument to consider also. What you need to do is avoid vanity metrics like the plague and get them out of your head. Of course you will, as soon as you know what they are. Forbes defines them as numbers which tell you nothing about or how they engage with the brand. Ultimately, they add no value. A good illustration is the potential reach of the brand. Forget about who the brand might reach and focus on who it will for certain.

The things that are important to you are market share, click-through rate, and conversions. Of course, overall sales are major too.

Mobilize it

So, you have the KPIs and have found the drivers on which to focus. It’s a job well done! Now all that’s left to do is sit back and watch as the data flows through the company and revolutionizes processes. Oh, wait, that isn’t how the story ends. Possessing the knowledge isn’t enough; you’ve got to make it accessible throughout the whole company. When marketers and IT technicians and middle management can access info at the click of a button, there is bound to be significant changes.

Your goal is to ensure they are organizational and not departmental. Too many companies adapt and evolve but only in certain sectors. These areas thrive and prosper while the rest of the organization struggles to keep up. Domo has a motto which is “practice data democracy.” As strange as it sounds, many bosses like to hold onto the information and stockpile the power. The argument is that employees need to earn trust first.

When you think logically, this excuse breaks down because it’s short-sighted. Plus, you can set restrictions within departments. With this in mind, think about adopting cloud computing so that everyone can access files and documents while on the move. Also, sync it to as many platforms as possible to avoid excluding people.

Use it for recruitment

It’s time to practice what you preach. The only issue is the lack of awareness – you have no idea what to look for within the data. It’s obvious that you need a person, or people, that can do the heavy lifting and pass on the relevant information. Outsourcing is an excellent way to bypass the obstacle on the road, but it carries threats. For example, you’re relying on a third-party. Also, communication can get strained.

The best option is to have a team in-house. Hiring applicants with a data background will lay the foundations for future big data success. Funnily enough, the right facts and figures will point you in the direction of the perfect candidate. Look for people with a mathematics or data science degree. Then, zone in on the ones that finished top of their class with a high GPA. Don’t forget about the school and the quality of teaching either. Did they top the course in a mediocre environment?

As well as achievements, it’s important to look into personality because the lucky person will have to fit in. Use the KPIs to figure out what kind of individual you need. Usually, tech guys and girls have to be hardworking and available 24/7 in case of a glitch or major bug.

Conference hall

(12019, Pixabay)

Get In The Mix

There is a convention for everything these days, and you will tend to find them in Las Vegas. Yes, the city that is the king of weird will happily host anybody for a fee. So, there are events which focus solely on data that are happening right now. And, because Vegas has shown the way, more towns and cities are jumping on the bandwagon. The Healthcare Analytics Summit is in Salt Lake City this year, while Comic-Con takes place in San Diego. Businesses can’t say they aren’t spoiled for choice.

Amazingly, plenty of bosses don’t believe in conventions and don’t buy tickets for their staff. Sure, there’s a good chance they will get drunk and slack off, but there’s more to it than a party. For starters, a convention is where the leading experts in the field gather to talk about ideas and advancements. Being in the room means you’re a part of the conversation and will learn something new about data.

As well as listening to talks and guest speakers, attendees can socialize with peers. When the presentation stops and food and the liquor come out, people tend to mix. As a result, it’s an excellent chance to make new contacts which might help the business in the long-term. In many ways, mixers are vanity metrics because nothing may come of the experience. However, it’s worth rolling the dice in case you run into a golden goose.

Don’t believe the hype

As with all trends, there is a tendency to think data is infallible. The numbers hold all of the answers and you just need to speak the right language. Once you improve your linguistic skills, then all will be revealed. It’s true that facts and figures will put you on the right path and help to avoid mistakes. But, it’s best not to think there is nothing they can’t do because it can encourage a lack of thoroughness.

Too many bosses believe what they read and invest in the hype. As a result, they invest regardless and implement the data into their strategies. Low and behold, the outcome isn’t what they expect and they scratch their heads and ask why. The reason is simple: a lack of research. Certain data will work for specific companies, but it won’t be as effective for others. It depends on the circumstances, which is why you should peel back the mask first.

Don’t fret because it’s easy to do as long as you keep your KPIs in mind. Will the new data drive the performance indicators that will, in turn, push the company forward? Focus your efforts by being skeptical.

Do you want to use big data but are unsure how to do it effectively? Then these tips can help.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this post are those of the contributor and not Science & Enterprise.

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