Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Many businesses are on a journey to be data-driven. To make insight and fact led decisions that have a high impact and minimise waste. We believe that accelerating business growth by finding both hidden opportunities and areas for increased efficiencies can be achieved by thinking with a data mindset.
The journey to becoming a data-driven business has many facets as we have spoken about in our recent blogs. As a reminder, our process to lead your business with a data mindset involves:
Start with your why - detail your ambition and vision for your business, considering how data can help you achieve this.
Use powerful questions to determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie - become a private investigator of performance to really understand the macro and micro numbers.
Culturally embed the role of data across all tiers of your business so all your employees start to make informed decisions from both collecting and using data in their roles.
Operationally enable your business to use data easily, accurately and consistently.
The focus of this blog is operational enablement.
For many small and medium businesses, collecting data is a consequence of doing business. It is not the core driver or business proposition. As such processes are often designed and developed around fulfilling the business needs such as purchase fulfilment, finance, stock management etc. To grow by being data-driven may require a change to how data is collected, managed and accessed throughout the business to support and enable growth.
There are often barriers to overcome, but the rewards of being data-driven are significant.
The main barriers we have encountered are:
1. Data Leadership:
The use of data in an SME tends to fall to marketing with marketing managers wearing many hats, with the data processing and “storage” falling to IT. Identifying a data champion in the organisation to lead the charge on how data can transform a business from the top-down helps align disparate teams and anchor the use of data to the business strategy.
An SME’s budget is typically going to be smaller than a large enterprise, and ironically the choice becomes greater as there are significantly more lower-cost solutions than high-end solutions on the market. Scoping requirements and their potential impact will help to identify where a solution will have a financial gain.
SME’s can also be concerned by the disruption associated with new solutions and processes. Managing a pragmatic development process in an agile way enables new data sets and capabilities to be tested and rolled out throughout the processing roadmap. This helps both minimise the disruption and also simultaneously reinforce the benefit of it.
With such barriers, the need to align with the business ambition and strategy is greater than ever. Ensuring the data and skills you have are best used to make your ambitions a reality, and minimise the disruption of technology transformation by readily proving the value of the changes you make.
Where to start?
Rather than rushing into finding a MarTech partner, we recommend scoping out your requirements to then prioritise any transformation against your budget.
Start by understanding if your current data assets, processes, infrastructure and platforms are prohibiting your ability to access and use your data in the way you need to realise growth and achieve your ambitions. Using use cases is a really straightforward way to document these. In many instances, there is a need to invest in the operational functions to enable businesses growth and ambitions to be realised. This may be executed as improvements to your existing setup, or as an overhaul with new providers.
Understanding and detailing the gaps between your current and future ambition state provides a clear set of “fixes” which can be expanded on and prioritised giving you a clear sense of the jobs to be done to enable your strategy to be acted upon in a systematic way.
As mentioned above, in some instances, fixing existing processes and platforms is sufficient to enable a business to start delivering against its ambitions, building proof of concept tests along the way to demonstrate the impact on the bottom line.
In other instances, a transformative approach is required with new processes and new technologies. Where this is the case, business owners are in both a fortunate and potentially confusing position. There is a vast amount of choice available to businesses looking to invest in technology. In a recent report by Chief Martech, there are now around 8K different marketing technology platforms and low-cost entry points to cloud processing power and connectivity.
With so much choice and slight variances across each platform, it can be hard to know where to invest and there are a lot of considerations -
The platform capabilities itself - will it enable you to deploy your strategies effectively and accurately? It is intuitive, visual, user friendly?
Does it need supplementary platforms to “stitch” the data before it can be loaded?
The support and training network - does it exist? It is in your time zone? Are there other business testimonials you can digest?
Pricing - it is in the budget, and does it allow for the users and potential activations to be executed? How long will your prices be held - is there a price hike around the corner?
As you can see, there are a great many aspects to consider. The key is to define what you need and want to be doing, then using this to evaluate potential suppliers and processes. This minimises the risk for your investment and ensures the greatest positive impact on your business.
We have helped many businesses navigate through their tech landscapes, to break down their tasks and start enabling their business with efficient, relevant and understood investments in MarTech.
If you are looking for guidance to enable your business to grow with a data mindset, helping you identify the operational requirements for your strategy, get in touch for a free discovery call. We’ll use this call to establish what your focus needs to be and discuss some new useful approaches that you can start using straight away.
Just fill out the form on our website or email me directly email@example.com.