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Data collection efforts have received a lot of focus over the past year, but this is only one piece of the puzzle. For businesses that truly want to improve and grow, it’s imperative that they learn how to store, organize, and use the data they’re gathering. Otherwise, it just becomes noise.

Leveraging Big Data for Big Results

“The potential value of the large data sets being amassed by private companies raises new opportunities and challenges for managers making strategic data decisions,” Edward L. Glasser writes for Harvard Business Review. “While there are plenty of well-publicized examples of data repurposing gone wrong, we think it would be a shame for companies to decide the only option is to hoard their data.”

While Glasser advocates for using data to help augment public data sources – a noble and justifiable cause in many situations – the reality is that most businesses haven’t even figured out how to use it internally yet. And before a company can be generous with its data, it needs to find valuable ways to leverage it.

For starters, every business needs a data processing framework. Instead of just sending a request and asking your system to go find a specific piece of data, partitioning schemes can be used to allow engines to isolate and identify the right piece of data at the appropriate time.

When it comes to analyzing data, it’s a good idea to use a variety of tools. From management software and data visualization solutions to integrated systems and cloud tools, a good data tech stack will produce well-rounded results.

With data properly organized and analyzed, businesses can then put valuable insights into use. Here are a few examples of ways leading organizations use the data they collect:

  • Launch a new campaign. The more data you collect from customers, the more your reputation and visibility will be exposed. Some of this will be good and other takeaways will be negative. Either way, the data should help you launch better marketing and branding campaigns down the road.
  • Optimize your website. Website data is some of the easiest to collect and analyze. Not only does it give you insights into who your customers are, but it shows you where you’re excelling and failing on your website. For ecommerce companies, in particular, data-based improvements can significantly bolster the bottom line.
  • Build partnerships. As Glasser explains, “Working with outside researchers and policy makers can help you gauge general interest, build a product that will have credibility, and develop insights that will create value for a broader audience.” You’ll find that data earns you allies – so don’t miss this.
  • Better allocate resources. When you look at key data sets in relationship to one another, it paints a clearer picture of where various organizational resources are best spent. This can lead to greater allocation and more efficiency.

These are just a few general examples. As you dig into your own data, you’ll find much more specific applications that apply to your business and its pursuits and goals.

Putting It All Together

It’s one thing to collect data. Using the collected data to accomplish key objectives for your business is totally different. Until you move from a collector to an initiator, you’re doing nothing positive for your organization. You’re increasing effort without enjoying any of the benefits of output.

Hopefully this article has provided you with a simple, yet practical look at how you can leverage the data you’ve been carefully collecting over the past few months and years. There’s a lot of work to be done and you should get moving as soon as possible.

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