5 Steps for Turning Data into Actionable Insights

If your business is like mine, you have data pouring in from numerous places. This can be great, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have a way to process and analyze that information. Companies have to be able to transform their data into actionable insights in order to make better business decisions, while also improving the buyer’s journey as a whole.

Antiquated systems, siloed databases and fragmented automation can all be reasons why you aren’t putting your data to work for you. Not having a clear understanding of the desired outcome with data analysis is also an issue for some.

With so much data available, there is no reason why a company can’t effectively use that information to develop products and services. Turning data into insights can actually increase top-line sales between 5% -15%.

It was the highest priority for marketing professionals in 2018. According to one study by Forrester Consulting, 54% stated that they had planned to rapidly convert data into insights aligned to customer’s real-time needs and behaviors. Another 32% said it was a critical priority.

Not sure where to begin? I put these steps together to help you on the path of optimizing your data:

1) Before you start, determine what is actionable. What do you really want to achieve? Be sure to narrow your approach to address only core business problems. Set achievable goals to avoid wasting valuable resources.

2) Seek out the right individuals. Put together a skilled team with analysts and data scientists to identify what information is crucial for your business, and use it to build insights. Be sure your team includes creative personnel to help with new ideas, technology strategies and implementation. Bonus points if your team members have some knowledge of AI, machine learning and big data.

3) Understanding customer needs (internal and external). This step is critical. The right insights can’t be extracted if you do not understand customer requirements or your business needs. Consider what challenges your target audience faces. Interacting with customers, recording their responses about your products and services, and using that info to improve your offering puts you in a great position for gathering the right insights.

4) Do not look for perfection. When analyzing big data, speed is of the essence, and you must act quickly. Gear up for quick decisions that lead to productive actionable items before your insight goes stale. Big technology companies (like Amazon, yeah, I said it) make decisions based on 70% relevant data. If they waited for the remaining 30% of the data, it would be paralyzing to their business.

When outlining your big data projects, don’t forget to include the people on the frontlines as their input and knowledge is valuable. You must understand what information the managers on the frontlines can use to benefit the company ­– and of course the customer experience.

5) Start with the best data available at your fingertips. Looking for the perfect dataset not only takes too much precious time, but it also usually does not exist. Avoid providing marketing or sales teams with data analysis they do not use because it isn’t trusted, clear or seen as relevant.

The end goal is to use information to drive insights and quick actions. Once you get to the point of embedding data and insights into your processes and everyday decisions, you’ll consider your business practices to be successful.

Harnessing the right data is no easy task, I know. At TO, we offer solutions to help your team successfully use your data to quickly reach more customers and provide a connected experience for today’s digital consumers. Contact me to learn more.