3 Ways Data Is Helping To Improve Business Efficiencies


Of the many advantages technology has introduced to business owners, few compare to the power of data. We can collect data from more sources than ever before, which, when used effectively, has a transformative impact on business operations as a whole.

There are several key ways that businesses are leveraging data sources to become more efficient and profitable than ever — let’s take a look at three big ones:

1. It Provides A Better Understanding Of Customers

Regardless of whether you run an e-commerce store or sell B2B services, understanding your customers is key to your growth. Data can play a role in almost every facet of how you engage with your customers. As just one example, tracking results from website traffic and social media campaigns will reveal how your target audience is responding to your messages.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software makes it easy to track each interaction a prospect has with your brand, allowing sales teams to better prioritize their efforts. As Canton Group reports, analytics is even being used to perform speech analysis to provide prompts to sales agents based on keywords a customer says — or even their tone.

Data can also help you better understand your current customers so you can improve retention efforts. As Thanx’s Kim Courvoisier writes, “Ideally, you need access to item-level data so you can see what your customers are buying, when and how much. Data for a fast-casual restaurant, for example, might show a group of lunch customers who order a bunch of appetizers as their meal, or a group of dinner-goers who always order chocolate cake for dessert. Knowing these pieces of information, enables the easy segmentation of your customers, or breaking them into similar groups.”

With solid data in hand, you can understand what does (or doesn’t) appeal to your target audience. You can adapt your marketing strategy or even sales training based on what you find.

2. It Identifies And Eliminates Supply Chain Inefficiencies

For businesses that sell a physical product, optimizing the supply chain can be a major challenge. There isn’t just the matter of keeping your manufacturing up to speed — logistics issues can likewise pop up when placing orders for needed supplies or shipping your products across the country.

As just one example, Supply Chain Dive reports that 40 percent of food waste in the United States is caused by supply chain issues — in this case, because of food spoilage that occurs while in transit. Damage to fragile items, or even shipping delays, can cause similar waste across many industries, which can greatly hurt a company’s bottom line.

This is where data analytics tools like Logmore come in. The company’s small, inexpensive logger devices collect data on shipments and sync it with cloud servers with a simple QR scan using any smartphone. This helps businesses deal with temperature-sensitive items, allowing them to identify which suppliers are creating waste. In this case, using data to know when to switch suppliers could help a company avoid major losses.

As Amber Markim of Flash Global notes, supply chain data can also help companies track supply and demand trends so they can optimize orders, manufacturing and responsiveness.

“You can manage the uncertain times of year that come when seasons for certain items come and go. This can also help you decide how to manage new items that are new to your business or to your inventory,” she writes. “This means that you can predict what is going on in a way so that you can better determine what items to buy, what items to forgo, and what items you need more of.”

3. It Helps Businesses Make Faster, Smarter Decisions

Real-time data has become a major selling point of many big data programs, and for good reason. With live insights, you can go beyond simply analyzing past trends. You don’t have to wait for months to find out if a change to your supply chain is having the desired effect.

Writing for Northeastern University, Kelsey Miller advises, “Before you begin collecting data, you should start by identifying the business questions that you want to answer to achieve your organizational goals. By determining the precise questions you need to know to inform your strategy, you’ll be able to streamline the data collection process and avoid wasting resources.”

This means collecting data from the right sources, and focusing on key performance indicators that are relevant to the questions you are asking. While data analytics tools can present a lot of numbers, knowing what information you’re looking for in the first place is key for gaining meaningful insights.

With quality data on your side, you will have greater confidence when making business decisions, while also becoming more agile. In fact, a PwC survey of 1,000 business executives found that data-driven organizations were three times as likely to achieve major improvements in their decision-making capabilities.

When your decisions are backed by solid data, you won’t just rely on gut instinct or guesses. You can take proactive steps based on known information, using patterns and trends to make key changes to improve your output — and your bottom line.

Use Data For Smarter Business Planning

Your data can have a profound impact on almost every area of your business. Of course, your data will only be useful if you are able to interpret what the numbers mean for your brand and you are willing to act on those insights.

When you learn to trust your data and act decisively, you will gain a distinct competitive advantage that will have a direct impact on your company’s results.

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