The world of business is rife with buzzwords. And it’s all too easy to dismiss “Big Data” as just another one of those buzzwords. An affectation that will go the way of the fax machine, the liquid lunch and red suspenders / blue / shirt / white collar paradigms. You don’t want to blue sky think your way into a new paradigm or eliminate bottlenecks with “bleeding edge” solutions. You just want to deliver the operational excellence that will keep customers coming back. No more, no less.
But without a strong understanding and implementation of your data, you’ll find it much harder to do that. Big Data is meant to be a light that you shine on your business. It’s supposed to guide you to more efficient approaches to operations, new ways to delight customers, and ways to eliminate wasteful spending. But when we don’t approach data in the right way, it can become unwieldy, creating more problems rather than revolutionizing your business. If your data has become more of a hassle than it’s worth, perhaps your business needs to kick these bad data habits…
Keeping data in departmental silos
Focusing on the big picture can be difficult. Especially as your organization grows and becomes more complex. Business growth is a wonderful thing. But without a centralized and proactive approach to data, that growth can become unwieldy and leave your business prone to inefficiencies. Individual departments can become insular, hoarding their own data. And while they’ll be paying close attention to their own KPIs and performance metrics, they’ll be unsure of how they’re contributing to your broader organizational goals. Heck… they might not even be sure what your broader operational goals are.
Which is why it’s a good idea to invest in Business Intelligence (BI) software to mine your data for actionable insights. For instance, if you want to find out information customers are looking for on your ecommerce website, using a platform like Site Search can make it much easier. It offers a range of insights with real-time reporting. Making sure the right people can access the right data at the right time is the best kind of data habit to get into.
Inconsistent rules on data governance
When most people are asked to define their data governance policies, they inevitably start talking about data management. But these are not the same thing. And using these terms interchangeably can not only lead to inefficiencies, it can make you vulnerable from a security and compliance point of view. Data governance requires higher level thinking. It’s about strategy rather than tactics. You can see more information about the differences between the two here.
Letting data do your thinking for you
And finally… Data is important. There’s no question about it. But it is not the be-all and end-all. Don’t get so swamped in data that you get struck by analysis paralysis. The best entrepreneurs are those who know what their data is trying to tell them, but still aren’t afraid to go with the instincts that are forged by years of experience in their chosen field.