As 2014 comes hurling towards us, we thought we would get a head start on predictions and New Year resolutions and talk about your data in 2014, particularly in terms of analyzing user activity. As data becomes a priority for enterprise organizations, those without a data strategy will begin to suffer. According to the study “Big Data Insights and Opportunities” by CompTIA; “the consequences of lagging behind in a data-driven world may become more pronounced.” “The participants in the CompTIA study cited lower productivity, lack of business agility, internal confusion over priorities and reduced margins due to operational inefficiencies as the top negative consequences of poor execution with managing and analyzing data.” What kinds of data challenges do you have in store in 2014? And how are you going to meet these challenges head on and overcome them? We are hoping to give you some insight and tell you about the benefits of a well thought out data strategy, that includes analyzing business user activity. Here are some ways to make 2014 your best year yet:
Data Insight in 2014
The top ways that data insight can help you out in 2014 are as follows, analyzing customer behavior and analyzing business user behavior. When you collect the right data, and analyze it properly, and usefully, you can increase your operationally efficiency, hone your marketing campaigns, improve your customer service, and more. How so? Let us break it down for you.
Analyzing Customer Behavior
When you collect data that answers the following questions, you are able to better grasp your customers’ buying patterns, wants, attitude toward your organization or brand and even predict what your customer might need or buy next. Here are some questions that the data you collect can answer and how it might be analyzed:
- What times of the month are my customers more likely to buy? You can analyze this by running reports on peak shopping times. You can then cross reference this with a calendar to track trends like shopping around certain holidays. You can then structure your promotional schedule to encourage customers to buy during your slower times.
- What services are popular amongst which age and gender groups? By surveying customers after their service has been completed or by collecting details about them using a comprehensive CRM, you can chart which services are popular by age and gender. Then you can cater your marketing campaigns to specific targeted groups to increase awareness and ultimately sales.
By using the data you are already collecting about your customers to help make your business decisions, you are ensuring that your organization is customer centric. You are also making it more efficient by directly responding to your customers needs and wants, rather than just guessing. Market research is great, but BI is even better. In 2014 not only is the data collected about your customers going to increase but so are the ways to do so as well as how well you can analyze such data. These advancements NEED to be researched and added to your data strategy to ensure you are keeping a competitive edge and staying ahead of the times.
Analyzing User Activity
Analyzing your business users’ activity gives you a better understanding of the ongoings within your organization and better yet, how your data is handled, down to the intricate details. IN 2014, analyzing your user activity will helpy you grapple with your data on a larger scale while maintaining order. Analyzing your users’ activity will help you to answer questions like these:
- During what times of the day are my users manipulating the most data? With a data audit trail you can actually pull a report of this to visualize when your data is being manipulated the most, in which systems. You can then use this cross reference this with another report, when the most data errors occur on a daily basis, to try to track down the source of your data errors. This in turn will improve your data quality.
- Which parts of my software solution are being used the most? The least? Do you know if the software you have implemented is being used properly? How about at all? Well theres an app for that, literally. Analyzing what parts of your systems are being utilized allows you to figure out whether you are getting the proper ROI, whether you need to provide your employees with better training, or if your software is alltogether ineffective. And a data audit log tracks this, along with any data record that is manipulated within any system, giving you a better picture of your systems as a whole.
Analyzing your user activity gives you a broad perspective of how the data that passes through your systems is touched in real-time capacity. You get an overview of your individual systems, your business users’ performance, and even an better understanding of how your data and the systems they sit in are functioning. Now that you are capable of having this insight, going without it makes you blind as an organization embracing big data.
Data Challenges in 2014
Of course, having an effective data strategy and execting it is not without its challenges. In 2014, organizations will face more of the same when it comes to data challenges. Here are the most common challenges:
- How much data SHOULD we store? If we try to store everything we may overload our systems and it will become impossible to manage. But how do we decide what data is most important.
- How much will data management software cost us? A data strategy is carried out by two things; great data management software and a great data management team. Both of these cost money. And unfortunately there isn’t one software out there that can collect, host, manage, decipher, track, and store all your data. There are various software systems that perform one or a few of these functions, but not all of them.
- Will our data be secure? If you choose an on-premise solution, that means a lot of servers, most likely a long implementation, and the IT professionals to manage it. And there are still security concerns to address. If you choose a cloud solution there is also worry about privacy, ownership of the data, and security from hackers. This is something that must be decided by your data team as to which direction to take.
- How long must our data be maintained? How long do you have to keep your data to ensure that you are compliant with industry and governmental regulations? Will you be able to access archived data? These are serious concerns that involve passing audits and insuring your organization remains legal.
But there is good news for you. We can answer a lot of these questions/challenges for you with our data tracking product Observato. With Observato you don’t even have to worry about which data you should store, it all gets stored for you, without taking up any extra space because our solution is a separate entity, that does not impact your current systems. We offer our data management software at a low monthly subscription in the cloud so it won’t put a big financial burden on you. Your data is safe and secured by heavily encripted individual servers that are yours and yours alone. Your data can be maintained forever without worry because Observato easily records and then displays your data neatly and sychronously. We may not be able to collect the data for you, or tell you what your data means, but we can do everything in between to ensure your data management and data quality.
So what is OUR prediction for 2014? Data will get even bigger and organizations will learn they NEED to invest in the RIGHT data management softwares to execute their data strategies effectively. And what should YOUR New Years’ resolution be. If you have a data strategy, it should be to hone it and come up with a solid structure to manage AND analyze your data. If you don’t have a data strategy, you best get busy. Our blog post “What’s a Data Strategy” might give you a starting place. Even better still is if you give yourself a head start on these resolutions now, to make 2014 your best business year yet!