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Got Big Data On Your Radar? 4 Questions Your Business Should Answer First

Blog: Business Analyst Learnings Blog

By now it’s difficult to deny the impact big data is having on businesses of all kinds. We’ve explored how big data is altering the future of business before, and some of the changes discussed at that time – the arrival of automation, the expansion of the Internet of Things, and so on – are becoming relevant even more quickly than many anticipated. Already today, the most forward-looking companies are embracing extraordinarily sophisticated technology for the purposes of streamlining operations and maximizing productivity. 

This presents interesting challenges for business analysts, because it essentially means there are new practices to consider. This article highlights four factors businesses should consider when contemplating the use of big data. 

Is Data Being Applied To Financial Management? 

Modern businesses have access to incredibly advanced bookkeeping tools and software that can greatly improve their financial management. While each system is different, and some are better for certain types of businesses than others, the best ones tend to handle a significant amount of data. There is still some responsibility on the part of the company to gather and enter the data, however. Ultimately, modern bookkeeping programs can analyze relevant data to produce a comprehensive assessment of a company’s finances. 

This data should include (but is not necessarily be limited to) day-to-day expenses, daily revenue, tax considerations, employee expenses, marketing and customer acquisition costs. In the past, businesses might have considered all of these things independently. These days however, plugging them all into a comprehensive system as data can produce a more accurate picture of a company’s finances, which in turn can drive strategy. 

Is Data Impacting Marketing Strategies? 

Marketing strategies can look very different from one business to the next and in the past, they were often driven by pure creativity and intuition. Now, however marketing effort conducted in that fashion is inadequate at best and may in fact be a disaster. It is thus necessary for the modern business analyst to determine if a given company is doing more – and specifically if it’s making appropriate use of data in this department. 

In outlining some modern SEO and marketing practices across a variety of businesses, companies such as Ayima espouse the benefits of data and insights in building an understanding of a business’s brand, market and audience. The idea is that by collecting data relating to these aspects of a company, a fundamental, strategic marketing effort can be devised, fueled not just by creativity and intuition, but by a factual understanding of what a business has to offer and how it can be best communicated to the target audience. The extent to which a company can set up this kind of approach has a significant bearing on its success or failure. 

Is Data Driving Hiring Efforts? 

A lot of business owners might wince at the idea of putting more effort into hiring. Recruiting, assessing, and hiring new employees can be an exhausting process, and even when it goes well it can be quite costly in terms of time and resources. The use of data and analytics, however, can streamline the process and in some cases result in better hiring decisions. 

Speaking to this notion, VentureBeat lists the benefits of data-driven recruitment technologies, which can  help to address finding the best sources of applicants, determining the time and cost to fill vacant positions, and measuring the time from onboarding to productivity. Putting it more simply though, data can provide a comprehensive picture of what the hiring process entails in any given scenario, and where the best applicants might be found based on past experience. A business taking advantage of this sort of assessment may be better positioned to maximize its resources and maintain a strong employee base. 

Is Data Being Used To Improve Customer Experiences? 

Like marketing efforts, improvements to customer experience were typically based on creativity and intuition in the past. After all, a business owner is often relatively well positioned to understand what customers want or where the business might be letting customers down and can thus make adjustments based on experience. Modern data analytics can make the process far more exact, however, and allow businesses to address needs more effectively. 

It’s actually a fairly complex process. Analytics Training explains how data can be used to build connections with customers, incorporating everything from ordinary feedback to social media engagement. A full-fledged effort in this area and analyzing all the information that can reasonably be collected, can provide a company with a clear picture of how to improve customer experiences, and as a result, generate more business. 

As with any other large, modern concept that affects multiple facets of a business, different companies tend to be at different stages of adoption when it comes to data analytics. 

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