The Power of Data

January 2, 2021

We know the world is ever-changing and we have two choices - stand back and watch or get on board!

What many don't realise though, is that their strength is right under their noses - data. It really is that simple. All your customers, products, staff, interactions, transactions, and anything else you record are your superpower. The solution is to leverage that power.

What Your Data Tells You

Your data can tell you so much about everything you do. Buying and selling trends, locations, times, most active, least active, activity by region, company, time, day of the week and so much more. There really is a wealth of information waiting to be discovered within your own walls!

Your data is the key to everything you do, it tells us all of your strengths and of course, your areas to improve on.  Calling them weaknesses is too strong a word as it is just an area that needs to be optimised. Using data science to dig deeper into your information can help you identify and manage those areas of strength and those to improve on. Using complex algorithms and formulae to sift through the information will yield fantastic and, most likely surprising results. If you are looking to improve on what you already do, data analysis is most definitely the way forward.

What Can I Do With My Data?

Every business needs to be smarter in 2021. We've seen what happened to 2020, it's obvious the first part anyway of 2021 is going to be in a similar vein. Use that time wisely! There will never be a better time to take stock of where you are and to put the steps in place to improve on that.

For many years the power of data has been overlooked. It may have worn many hats - business intelligence, corporate strategy, analytic study to name but a few, but by and large many companies have chosen to view it as something only done by large organisations and multi-nationals. This is not, and never has been the case. It's time to get on board!

Once you recognise you already have the information critical to your company, you can then begin to look at a strategy to get the best from it. Firstly, identify where it is held. This could be a single location such as your accounts software or it could (more likely) be in multiple places - the most common tend to be Access databases or Excel spreadsheets, which is fine. 

You then need to establish what you want to do with your data. This may be an over-simplification but read on. The likelihood is that your data will contain what is known as 'dirty data'. Put simply, information in the wrong places such as cities in county fields, Ltd and Limited, J Smith and John Smith - you get the idea. Before anything can be done, that needs to be fixed. Once the data has been organised you can then begin to see the true value.

DIY vs Get Help

The age-old question - 'can I do it myself or do I need help?' The simple, and truthful answer is yes, you could do it yourself. You could also set aside what your company actually does day-to-day to focus on your data, but that obviously means you're not doing anything else. You could ask an office junior or temp to correct the data for you, but is that really the best use of their time? Truth is, you already know the answer to that question.

If you speak to any company who specialise in data, they will provide professional advice, based on experience. Whilst they haven't seen your data, they will have seen and helped other companies in a similar position. They are professional, work in secure environments and will tell you exactly what they'll do with your data once the job is complete. Things to know:

  1. Reputable data companies will not keep a copy of your data once the work is complete, unless you specifically ask them to and is part of an agreement!
  2. The data will not be sold to 3rd party companies or your competition
  3. They will not divulge details of your information to others
  4. Discretion and security are part of what they do, they would never compromise that

Most will be happy to have a no-obligation conversation with you to answer any questions you may have. It's worth asking

What Will It Cost?

One of the first questions companies will want to know the answer to is what will it cost. How much time and money will they need to allocate to the project. The honest answer is that, without seeing the data itself, companies may offer a guide price but cannot be specific (which is understandable).  They may to able to tell you an approximate time and amount but it may be less or more depending on the quality and complexity of your data. They are not being difficult or shady, it's just that your data may need very little work to normalise or, there may be a larger amount of time required to even centralise let alone clean the information. That will all come out in the initial conversation.

If you search the web, you'll find companies offering to clean your data from as little as a penny a row. Without knowing what condition your data is in, how can they generalise? How can they know how much work is required to get to a point the data can be analysed? Simple annswer - they can't! If they're offering it cheaply they'll make the money in some other way for sure!

Look on the benefits and what you can gain from the knowledge your data will release. How can the intelligence the information benefit you? Greater sales, more effective buying practices, better targetted sales and advertising - these are only a few of the potential benefits. There really are so many more, all you need to do is take the decision to own your data. Manage it, don't be owned by it!

In Summary

Your data is yours - you own your data. If it's unorganised, or messy, it owns you. Take a second to think about that. How many times have you looked at the information in your possession and got frustrated at data in the wrong place, or perhaps blank lines on labels you print? You intended to sort it at some point but that day never arrives.

You decide to look at your information to try establish how many customers you have in an area. You search for say 'Lincolnshire' in the County field. What happens when it's 'Lincs' or 'Linclonshire' or worse... blank? Your results are skewed. You build an incomplete picture of your sales. If you make decisions based on this information, the decisions are flawed. 

Get in touch for a no-obligation chat. We won't chase and cold-call afterwards!

w: polarsun.co.uk
t: 01754 896677
e: jack@polarsun.co.uk

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