Bad Data Will Cost Your Company Millions. 4 ways to ensure you are monetising your data

The amount of data is increasing exponentially. Web visits, emails, transactions, calls — every event brings new insights about customer behavior. Yet many companies fail to monetize the data available to them, despite the competitive advantage that it gives them. Forrester Research reports that revenues of insights-driven organizations are on track to grow 27–40% annually, while the economy in general will see 3.5% average annual growth.

So what can you do to monetize your data so you can start to compete with the big guys on the block like Google, Facebook and Amazon?

Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” The key element to monetizing data is always preparation: without a tailored data strategy, the data itself is not only meaningless, but also expensive.

As a part of our digital transformation projects with large corporations, we often suggest starting with these four steps.

Step 1: Test, test and test!

We tell our clients that the key metric they should track is how many tests they run each week. Testing can be on one preferred slogan against another one, whereby you drive this version of your message at different target markets and track their response: not everyone is going to hear what you are saying in the same way. Or testing an individual’s interaction with different types of buttons. From our own insights, we found that expanding buttons increased traffic by 40%. We cannot emphasize enough how crucial this is. The reason for it is simple: a metric that you track is a metric you can maximize, and every single improvement counts.

Collecting and storing copious amounts of data can be expensive — running tests is probably the easiest way of making money out of that investment.

Step 2: Store, track and share your insights in a central place.

Every test, whether it succeeds or fails, produces an insight. That insight will allow your team to plan the next test.

The current mentality in large organizations, that data is a valuable commodity to hoard, is flawed. The result of that thinking is that silos withhold crucial information because they feel like they are competing with each other, inevitably dragging down projects and the whole organization. Democratizing data and insights lets teams have a holistic view of the organization’s performance and strategies. Thus, it is in everyone’s best interest to document insights, learnings and results for everyone to see. Whether it is on a shared Excel spreadsheet or a specialized tool like Nela, the point of documenting insights is to build organizational knowledge and optimize strategies over time.

Step 3: Translate your insights into action at the right time.

Every piece of data has some useful life. Over time, it becomes redundant. Acting upon irrelevant data will cost you effort. Not acting on any data will also cost you. Therefore, while it is important to translate insights into action, it is equally important to have a plan in place as soon as possible. However, in the age of Big Data, where the amount of data can be overwhelming, one of the difficulties is to prioritize insights and actions so what you know and what you do about it provide the most value.

The Nela team are strong believers in collaboration. Using a a tech platform like Nela or Sharepoint, where team members are able to up vote and rank insights based on their impact, can help organizations prioritize more efficiently using the wisdom of the crowd.

Step 4: Manage the process closely.

This step interlaces with the first three, but it is worth another mention. Keeping track of research pieces, tests and insights helps you maximize the return from your data. Measure the return on investment and track where your customers are coming from so you can focus on what is working and get rid of what isn’t.

As customer expectations grow, companies must enrich their process so they can keep up with the market. Spreadsheets for tests and PowerPoint slides for insights worked well enough in the past. However, spreadsheets and slides are often scattered across the organization. They are hard to find and annoying to use, and most people do not look at them a second time. According to McKinsey, employees spend 20% of their time trying to look for the information they need to do their jobs.

We predict that insight management solutions will be the next wave of SaaS. That’s why we are developing insight management software to help insight-driven organizations track tests and share insights in a more collaborative and interactive manner. We do not presume that our way is the only right way to gain insights; but we are working on this solution because the options now in the market all fall short in one way or another.

Nela — All insights

So tell us, what issues do you come across when trying to build an insight-driven culture? How do you currently manage your tests, data and insights? Share your stories with us in the comments section below.

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