It’s easy to be data rich and insight poor. If you’ve noticed that your business is accumulating vast amounts of data but you’re not using it, you’re wasting a crucial opportunity.

Many companies are simply trying not to be left behind, and are hoarding data without using it to its full potential. Since much of this data has a limited lifespan, it will become inaccurate, outdated, or simply no longer relevant.

Experts are predicting that annual data production will increase by 4,300% by 2020. Making sense of this data will be one of the biggest challenges that most businesses face in the future. Luckily, machine learning, smart software development, artificial intelligence, and deep learning are all going to help business owners analyse and use this data.

Your ability to compete will be impacted by how well you can leverage your data, implement new technologies, and apply analytics. Here are some ways you can make the most of the data in your business:

Smart data, not big data

If you want to avoid data overwhelm, you’ll need to focus on smart data instead of big data. That means, instead of collecting every piece of information you can and then trying to use it, take the opposite approach.

First, define which questions you need answered, and ensure that answering those questions will have a direct impact on growth. Then, collect and analyse only the data that will answer those questions.

Every business has opportunities where they’re not properly utilising data. When you find these gaps and use advances in technology to collate data, you’ll have powerful new opportunities.

Use outside insights

Are you making the most of the data in your business?If you’re only using your own data, you could be missing out on key information about your competitors. When you use outside insights, you can use your competition as a benchmark, and make sure you’re improving your position against other businesses in your industry.

An example could be if you were aiming to increase social media visibility. If you increased your Facebook likes and engagement by 25%, and your goal was 20%, you may be ready to celebrate. But if your biggest competitor improved their Facebook likes and engagement by 30%, you would have lost ground- even though you surpassed your goal.

Whenever possible, collect data about your closest competitors so you can see how you stack up and where you can improve.

Use the data you already have

Many business owners have Google Analytics accounts they never actually log into. They have forecasts in their CRM that they’re not keeping up-to-date with. And they have social media profiles that they’re using without monitoring their impacts.

You may notice that frequent blogging increases traffic. Maybe training days for your sales teams consistently increase sales. Your Twitter account may have thousands of followers, but your Facebook page may offer a better ROI.

Begin with the data you have, and look at how you can use this data to move your business forward. As you begin monitoring these metrics, you’ll be able to see which activities are leading to results.

Consider your tools

Unfortunately, some business tools simply aren’t able to store and analyse data well. If you’re still using Excel, you’re working with a legacy system, or you have no CRM to track deals, you’re a step behind your competition.

As the amount of data businesses have access to continues to increase, you’ll need the tools and experience to analyse this data. The insights from your data will allow you to see what your customers want, and what’s working within your business and what needs to be improved.

If you’d like to learn how we can help you make the most of the data in your business, get in touch today.

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