WRITTEN BY SAMANTHA MASON
Fostering data created in a world of rapid digital and tech development is an indispensable ingredient for any business that wishes to grow with prosperity. Former executive president of HP, Carly Fiorina, puts it like this: ‘The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight’. It is no secret that being an industry disruptor holds great value — look at Tesla! Any business that hopes to influence its market with innovative tech of its own needs to be fostering data. This is the reason that data is fast becoming one of the most valuable commodities of our time, and the reason that businesses need to increase the pace at which they incorporate it into their strategies in order for them to stay relevant.
The (big) deal with data
At every phase in a product’s life cycle, a fundamental requirement is to utilise the available data to make it come to life and meet the consumer need. Industries have infinite access to data, allowing them to keep their finger on the pulse when it comes to notable changes, potential updates or shifts in the market that would allow them to create disruptive startups.
While utilising your resources and customer base to capture data is incredibly valuable, it is also necessary for venture capitalists to gather from a variety of diverse data sources. Both quantitative and qualitative data are important to track, follow and incorporate into business models and service offerings. Not to mention, consumers’ interconnectivity and digital presence demand businesses to be conscious of patterns and habits — that is consumer-generated data. Tracking consumers online habits and activity in real-time using marketing automation tools is a great way to learn their pain points or potential touch-points.
A survey done by Deloitte noted that ‘49% of respondents find that analytics help them make better decisions, 16% say that it better enables key strategic initiatives and 10% feel that it helps them improve relationships with both customers and business partners’. At The Delta, we truly believe in building products that matter and use data as part of our business model to make informed decisions.
Often there is a divide between the startup and the market it wants to enter. To bridge this gap, venture capitalists must combine their data, knowledge and resources with the new idea. Data and innovation are not twofold; for new ventures to see sustainable success, they will have to adopt this notion. As Jack Ma says: ‘Alibaba is more of a data company and not an e-commerce firm’. This simply suggests that you should focus on utilising data to see success rather than having the product as the focal point of strategic operations. And while you may think it enough to have data-driven innovation ingrained in your business model, there is always room to do more. As they say, ‘speed is of the essence’ and, for innovators, that is most certainly true. Obvious, but worthy, examples are Airbnb and Uber, which both took off in their respective markets at such a rapid pace and they are still market leaders. The speed at which you can utilise data-driven innovation is crucial to gain that leading advantage and, equally so, the quicker businesses can adopt a data-driven business model, the better. This also gives companies the opportunities to adjust their current successors quickly based on new insights they gain.
Corporates typically have a rigid structure to cope with their scale. As such, making adjustments is not always easy. Having the enthusiasm and trust in adopting this new data-centric business model comes from understanding what it actually means and how it influences the work you do.
For many of us, just the word ‘data’ can send us into a tailspin of confusion and doubt. First and foremost, the shift must start from the top to propagate the idea downward. In this, keep up some consistent communication of which data is important and why. Your employees have to get it, there can be no boundaries between the business and data science. As Elon Musk said: ‘starting and growing a business is as much about the innovation, drive, and determination of the people behind it as the product they sell’. Next, get everyone into the habit of explaining their adoption and execution of the data. This refers to how they have understood and interpreted it and what calls they are going to make based on what they have learned.
Choosing how to store your data is also important so that your business can meet its needs. According to Statica, worldwide spending on data storage units is expected to exceed $78 billion this year. Having both data lakes and data warehouses can be beneficial. One concerns the raw, easily-accessible data that is useful for quick, real-time decisions. The other is a library for your processed and structured data that you already know is valuable to the business in some way. Both can be an asset to your business.
As the data keeps showing us, we have come a long way in developing really cool and creative things. Data will continue to teach and challenge us to keep adding value to our lives and those of consumers. Data will always offer insights that enable us to become more efficient when it comes to innovation, customer experiences, social interactions and business operations. However, with the Internet of Things (IoT) guiding the way for data to keep growing, it could be possible that there may, at a point, be too much data! Having an unsurpassable data strategy will be more important than ever if organisations want their data to be a continuous asset in innovation and creation.
Want to use consumer data to make informed decisions regarding your venture development? The Delta is a venture-development company that co-creates businesses and products with leading corporations and entrepreneurs. Get in touch with us here.
All views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever which The Delta have been, are now, or will be affiliated with.