What Does Being Data-Driven Mean?
In this digital business landscape, being data-driven is no longer a matter of choice. More and more companies are using data research to pinpoint workflow weaknesses and transform business insights into actionable objectives.
How Do Companies Become Data-Driven?
Data-driven companies are founded upon the principle that action shall be informed by insights gained from data. This means a data-driven company must 1) be able to collect data relevant to their business, 2) have staff on hand that can derive insights from this data, and 3) be prepared to act based on these insights.
One of the most common methods for mass data collection is web scraping. Web scraping is a broad term that describes the act of collecting specific data from a targeted source. By definition, something as simple as manually comparing prices between eBay vendors would fall under web scraping. Of course, such brute force methods become impractical when dealing with the volumes of data that are potentially useful for an organization. This is where web scrapers come into play.
Web scrapers are special software that you can program to gather data from websites. How they go about collecting this data varies. Some web scrapers take screenshots of the page, others get into the raw code and grab the data you want. Regardless of what method they use, web scrapers can collect data much, much faster than a team of humans can.
Transforming your business into a data-driven one is no small task. A poorly implemented strategy to become data-driven can mean a major investment in data research with no concrete benefits. For most companies, it means a massive upheaval of the entire business workflow and a remolding of the company’s perception and attitude towards data. This isn’t just a matter of infrastructure; your employees must also be ready to make the leap with you.
The Importance of a Data-Driven Strategy
If your business isn’t data-driven, you’re already several steps behind your competition. Everyone else is making decisions based on real data with real, predictable results. Meanwhile, you’re stuck relying on subjective assumptions and abstract “intuition.” Even if you’re using data to inform your decision-making, without the ability to collect and analyze data in real-time, you’re working with information from reports that could be weeks or even months old.
Of course, there are also companies at the other extreme of the spectrum. These companies suffer from an excess of data, their processes inundated with loads of raw information that they have no idea how to utilize. A data-driven organization not only knows how to access the data they want, but it also has the infrastructure and staff in place to derive insights from this data, insights that can take their business to the next level.
If you’re still on the fence about the benefits of becoming data-driven, we’ve compiled a list of the five major reasons you should start making changes today.
Has the Potential for Unlocking Brand-New Revenue Streams
Data research can show you how much money you’re making now and how much money you should be making. Crucially, the right data can show you how your market thinks and what your market is seeking, opening up options for new products and empowering innovation. Alternative data can be used to gain insight into the investment process.
Allows You to React Quickly to Trends and Breakthroughs
Data allows for direct interaction with customers. By collecting information about how your market behaves and what they’re saying on social media about your and your competitors’ products, you can identify trends and make adjustments on the fly. Being able to perform sentiment analysis on the fly is invaluable, enabling your company to remain agile in an ever-changing digital landscape.
Eliminates Bias in Decision Making
Does your business still rely on the intuition and hunches of the old guard to keep it afloat? Nothing can replace years of experience, but when this experience is supported by hard data, your team can make decisions with brand-new levels of confidence.
Improves Efficiency by Identifying Bottlenecks
Data is so valuable to modern businesses because it provides objective and proven metrics to work with. By applying data collection methods at every level of the company, you can accurately track the performance of every part of your workflow. Employee performance and productivity become quantifiable with hard data, allowing you to determine which employees are over or underperforming and act accordingly.
Company efficiency isn’t solely based on employee performance. Data research also helps you gain insight into why employees might not be working to their full potential. With the right data, you can discover bottlenecks in your workflow that may be affecting your employees’ output. The power of a well-designed data-driven approach is that it allows for an overview of your general productivity while also offering minute and specific information at ground level.
Helps You Understand What Works (and What Doesn’t)
In a data-driven company, decision-makers are able to receive market data faster than ever. Knowing how customers respond to a promotional campaign or a new product immediately after it releases is invaluable. Keeping yourself informed about your customers is also critical when expanding into new markets. With the right data, you can accurately predict the feasibility of your products and services and make adjustments that cater to your market.
A data-driven business is a business that is able to derive insights from raw data and identify actionable objectives from these insights. Data-driven companies must be able to collect large volumes of data from the vast pool of information on the internet. They do this through the use of web scrapers, special software that can be instructed to collect specific data from targeted sources. This data, when properly analyzed, can be used to gain insights into company productivity, employee performance, and market sentiment. The value of data is immeasurable; it’s no surprise that so many companies are making the transition to become data-driven today.