Three Business Questions To Ask Your Company's Big Data

Angus Dorney, Rackspace / Source: Supplied

The term big data has been a key topic of IT and boardroom discussions for some time now, but a recent survey has found big gaps in companies’ plans.

Companies are accumulating massive volumes of data as systems and customers go digital, and big data is all about drawing useful information from those assets.

It’s more difficult than it sounds.

A study by KPMG discovered that three out of four executives found it difficult to make decisions around data and analytics, even though 99 per cent considered it to be important to their business.

More than half of all respondents said that the greatest challenge to implementing a data and analytics strategy was knowing what data they should collect in the first place.

These three questions are a good starting point:

1. What is the driving force behind my business?

This will depend on your business model. For example, if you’re an online retailer such as clothing specialist ASOS, key metrics will include the number of online visitors and the conversion rate of those visitors.

If however, your business model is similar to a platform like LinkedIn and a lot of your visitors are ‘freemium’ visitors, then the number of visitors won’t matter as much as measuring the CTR (‘click through rate’) on the advertisements or the amount of sign-ups for a premium account.

The main point is that the ‘big’ quotient of big data can be made up of different types of data activity: some of it transactional, some of it real time, some of it slower to gather; the big data universe is wide and varied.

2. Who are my customers and what do they want?

Knowing your customer is the key to success, whether you’re a corner shop or a global enterprise because it enables you to create a customized experience for each customer.

Use your data to paint a picture of your customer base and create your business strategies from there.

Significant advancements in our ability to capture and analyse data have led to the opportunity for companies to build deeper and more meaningful profiles of their customer base.

For example, linking an individual’s social media activity to their buying habits can provide powerful insight into their motivations. New data capabilities enable us to go beyond traditional demographic customer mapping.

Taking the time to get to know your customer is what separates good businesses from great.

3. Why and where are customers dropping off?

Buying decisions are typically multi-stage therefore it is critical to establish what stages of your buying process are leading to customer drop off. Perhaps your check-out process is slow, or perhaps your customers are finding it difficult to locate the information that they need.

Irrespective of the problem, being able to locate the exact point at which customers drop off or disengage with your business is a very valuable asset to have. It means that you have a starting point from which to improve the customer experience, and ultimately drive profits.

Angus Dorney is Director & General Manager for cloud provider Rackspace Australia and New Zealand. He has previously worked in a variety of multinational and regional companies and has an extensive background working in sales, marketing, strategy and operations.

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