Data-driven or data-oriented companies are all terms that describe the same thing: companies that organise and use their data to better serve their customers.
The digital revolution has brought an explosion of data that is now unavoidable in our daily lives and for every company. The way these are used and interpreted is still largely under-exploited, which is great news for all companies willing to become data-driven: the time is now!
In this article, we will shed light on:
- what is a data-driven company, with examples
- What is the point of being data-driven?
- how to recognise a data-driven company?
What is a data-driven company?
Being data-driven means relying on data (all kinds of data: operational, financial, marketing, real time,…) to make decisions (all kinds of decisions: investing in a project, continuing a campaign, changing strategy,…). As opposed to relying solely on instinct, on what you have read somewhere or based only your experience. One does not preclude the other, of course, and it is rather a combination of the two.
In everyday life, we are already data-driven without always realising it: we check a weather application before deciding to take an umbrella.
In a company, this can be observing current facts: by how much and for how long the turnover/visits to the site/… increases as a result of a certain marketing campaign.
It can also support more general reflections observed over an unspecified period of time: what is the acquisition channel that brings the most sales? or even tracking trends: how will the new trendy platform impact our business?
In fact, being a data-driven company means having analytical reflexes within the company, which support the more human reflections such as ideas, instinct, and do on..
What is the point of being data-driven?
At first sight, we all want to be data-driven. But in concrete terms, what are the competitive advantages of using your data correctly?
The list is long, but we will group them under three main reasons:
- understand and generate insights:
Facing numbers and facts: it’s reassuring!
This is true for monitoring day-to-day operations but also for gaining an overview and understanding of more general phenomena. One of the strengths of good data management is the ability to play with the different granularities of information. In addition to analysis, when a company has a solid data ecosystem, it can anticipate by monitoring trends and thus spot unsuspected opportunities and threats.
Making your data talk, putting it in the right context, means having a deeper and more nuanced understanding of your business.
- make informed decisions:
Data nurtures the discussion within a company and supports the decisions made. Adopting an analytical approach brings structure and logic to business thinking. Ideas, intuition and people are of course essential when it comes to making decisions.
We are generally more at ease with our decisions: we are certain that our decisions are justified by figures and facts.
- catalyst for digital strategy:
Since it is mainly the digital revolution that has brought the amount of data we know, it is logical that data and digital go hand in hand. But having the right tools, metrics generators, statistics tabs in our favourite applications is not enough to use this amount of data effectively. It’s really important to think a little further, based on what digital brings us, to create relevant, actionable and effective ecosystems.
How to recognise a data-driven company?
To assess whether a company is data-driven or not, we ask ourselves the following fictitious question: if we remove the data from the company for a day: what will happen? If the company is completely confused, it is most certainly data-driven, if it does not change anything in its daily life: it is very little data-driven.
To complete this little test, we have put together 3 signals to recognise a data-driven company:
- First of all, there is a real desire and curiosity to want to be one!
- it is the one who will focus less on the latest trends but on its own business and what REALLY works in ITS OWN case. Focus on your strengths, your differentiation, thinking for yourself and what works for you.
- it is the one that has metrics and KPIs: that sets targets, and is able to interpret them
- Strategies are explained clearly and repeatedly to everyone, employees are data literate. In fact, the company is not afraid to talk figures to its own customers: waiting time of x days, completion of x% of the programme, saving xEUR by coming to us.
- Of course, we should not forget that a data-driven company is above all a company that HAS data and a minimum of tools to generate it. But this includes everyone, as even the smallest SMEs have data!