Top 10 Signs You Might Not Be Using Your Data Efficiently

There are a few things that most successful businesses have in common. 

Many of the top-performing companies excel because they have excellent customer experience strategies, innovative products and services, and a strong vision of the future. However, at the heart of all of these assets is one essential thing: data. 

Without the right information, it’s impossible to know for sure which product development ideas will help you to attract more revenue, or which steps you should take in your marketing campaigns. Data gives you the power to make informed and intelligent decisions about your brand’s future. 

However, making the most of your data is easier said than done. Even with a data analytics strategy in place, or if you’ve begun to build a campaign for big data management, you may still not be using your data efficiently. Here are 10 signs that it’s time for a change. 

10. Employees Don’t Understand their Role with Data

The most obvious sign that you’re not making the most out of your data is that your employees have no idea what role they play when it comes to gathering and protecting information. Now that GDPR is in full swing, you can’t just collect data anywhere without a strategy. Your employees need to follow a strict set of guidelines to ensure that they’re always compliant with security and privacy rules. 

If you don’t already have a training system in place that shows your team members how to efficiently back up and store their data, as well as how to ask for permission when collecting third-party information, now’s the time to create one.

9. You’re Dealing with Data Silos

As businesses of all sizes trend towards solutions for greater flexibility, like cloud-based software and innovative new contact centre tools, data silos have become increasingly common. While unified communications tools are useful for eliminating some of the silos you have in your workforce, there’s still a chance that tools from separate providers are leaving you with different streams of information that you can’t connect. 

Unfortunately, data silos mean that it’s difficult to get an in-depth insight into what’s going on in your organisation. If you want to use your data efficiently, then you need to find a way to link all of your information together in the same environment. 

8. Storing Data is Starting to Cost a Fortune

The price of data storage has fallen significantly in recent years. However, if you don’t have the right strategy in place, then you’ll end up with substantial storage costs. The right data storage plan determines what kind of information you’re going to be collecting and how you can clean your databases regularly. According to research, up to 73% of company data is sitting in a storage facility, costing the business money, but those organisations aren’t actually using that information. 

Efficiently accessing data isn’t just about collecting as much information as you can get your hands on. It’s also about having the right plan in place for how you’re going to refine, organise, and use that data to your advantage. 

7. You Can’t Take Advantage of New Data Sources

New sources of valuable data are appearing all the time. Lately, we’ve seen a rise in AI chatbots that collect useful information from consumers through online conversations. There are also virtual assistants that can gather information from customers in your call centres. The Internet of Things has also created a massive influx of data taken from different machines and devices around your organisation. 

If you’re not equipped to take advantage of these new data sources, then you could have a problem. Modern companies always need a strategy in place for assessing and embracing the latest data sources as they appear in their industry. Figure out what kind of information you need to collect and what software or hardware you need in place to gather the correct details. 

6. You Have No Single Version of the Truth

A single version of the truth is an essential aspect of a data analytics strategy for any company. Essentially, having a single version of the truth means that all of the data you collect for your business is unified into a single central repository. This might not always be possible for some companies, but it’s an ideal that every business needs to strive for. 

The more distributed your data is thanks to your adoption of multiple systems and software solutions, the more likely it is that you’re working with information that’s inaccurate, redundant, or even out-of-date. A single source of truth will help with preserving the consistency of your data quality in any business environment. 

5. Your Analytics Are Revealing Contradictory Insights

The more muddled and cluttered your data analytics strategy becomes, the more likely it is to end up with confusing insights that contradict each other. To perform accurate data analysis, you need a good understanding of the information that’s available to you. The more data you collect, and the less organised that information is, the harder an efficient audit becomes. 

While it’s often tempting to believe that gathering more data and numbers will lead to better results, this is rarely the case. Efficient data management in any business isn’t just about collecting as much information as you can get your hands on. Make sure you don’t fall victim to this mistake. 

4. You Risk Losing Everything If Your Data Is Breached

Another sign that you’re struggling with a poor data strategy is that you don’t have any “plan B” in place if your information ends up getting breached. Data is one of the most valuable assets any business can have, yet there are still companies out there that don’t have back-ups and systems in place to protect themselves from natural disasters, criminal attacks, and more. 

To using your data efficiently, ensure that you have a system in place for protecting yourself from data issues. You should always have a backup of your most valuable insights somewhere. Usually, that means investing in backup systems on the cloud, as the cloud offers scalability that’s hard to find on-premise.

3. You’ve Already Experienced a Data Breach

Without a good data strategy in place, you might have already experienced a breach caused by a cybersecurity issue. Studies show around half of all UK businesses have had some type of cyber attack in the last 12 months. This number rises to 66% for mid-sized firms, and 68% for larger companies. 

To make the most out of your data, you need a strategy in place for protecting yourself against criminals. Many companies that offer data storage solutions and analytics services online have some sort of security system in place. These are complete with encryption at rest and in transit for all of your information. 

2. You Can’t Carry Out Strategic Forecasting

According to studies, businesses can access up to 8% increase in profits, and 10% reduction in operational costs when using strategic forecasting with big data. When you have access to the right data and analytics solutions, it’s easy to assess the information you have today to make decisions about your company’s future. 

On the other hand, if you don’t have an efficient data analytics and management strategy, you won’t be able to pull your information together into an effective forecasting system. You may not be able to feed your data to AI tools either. These tools would allow you to access things like predictive analytics based on machine learning algorithms. Machine learning tools rely on data to make accurate forecasts. However, they need that data to be organised in a specific way. 

1. You Aren’t Providing Amazing Customer Experiences

A common reason to invest in information is that it allows you to improve your interactions with your target audience. Gathering data from various conversations and experiences with customers will allow you to learn everything you need to know about providing your target audience with an unforgettable buying and aftercare experience. For instance, Netflix uses Big Data to personalise suggestions for subscribers. The Netflix recommendation system accounts for 80% of the content watched on the platform as a result. 

Netflix’s decision to use data means that it saves around $1 billion each year from customer retention. For the same kind of results, you need a data strategy that allows you to understand your audience.