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Data Analysis is the New Competitive Advantage. How Do I Start Building a Data Strategy For My Business?

March 26, 2016

89% of companies believe that if they do not develop and adopt a big data analytics strategy, that they could lose both market share and momentum.

Why? Because big data tells you things about the world, and about your business that you didn’t know before. And as more and more of your competitors adopt data strategies, they will learn more and more about your industry, putting you at a disadvantage. It is quickly becoming the “new thing” in business.

Luckily, it is quickly becoming easier and easier to adopt a big data strategy.

Step 1: What is Big Data?

The first step is to learn what Big Data really is. Understand it first, in order to appreciate its value to your company.

Step 2: Get Comfortable With the Idea of Using Big Data

The definition may scare you, because it is a little mind-boggling and difficult to comprehend. However, it is not as big and scary as it seems. It is also not as costly as it seems. The Internet of Things (IoT) movement is making collection much easier, and the cloud is making storage much easier. Even analytics are becoming easier for companies of all sizes. If you don’t have enough money to spend on hiring a whole team of data analysts and data scientists, don’t sweat! There are firms out there that specialize in this that can analyze your data for a much lower cost than hiring a team.

Step 3: Ask Yourself These Questions to Develop a “Big Data Plan”

A good first question to ask yourself is, “what do we have?” Then identify what kind of data you think you are missing that you may need. This will help you identify what kind of data to collect. Many companies think that simply collecting a lot of data is a “data strategy.” However, data is only useful if it is relevant to your company. Furthermore, collecting a lot of data can make it more difficult for a data analyst to extract information and insight from that data. Having a lot of data makes the analyzing process more difficult, as they have to sift through all of the irrelevant information (and initially decide what information is irrelevant in the first place).

Next ask, “What assumptions do I have about my company?” This is a great question to ask, as it is a great starting point for companies that don’t have a big data analytics plan already in place. At this point, much of what you know (or rather, think you know) about your company are based on assumptions. You may have reports that tell you things, but this data can be manipulated and often comes from many, disparate sources. Because of this, you may not be getting accurate information.

Therefore, a good starting point is to test your hypothesis about your assumptions of your company. This also makes it easier for a data scientist to determine where to start…and you never know, along the way, he or she may find something else that will be useful.

 

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