How to Use Accurate Data for Strategic Decision-Making

StrategyDriven Strategic Analysis Article | How to Use Accurate Data for Strategic Decision-Making

Running your own business involves a lot of decision-making, from figuring out how many employees to hire to when to roll out your next marketing campaign. Rather than make an impulsive decision, successful businesses make informed decisions based on accurate, current information.

This simple strategy of using accurate data can help dictate the health of your business, both short and long-term. To build a resilient and adaptable business, keep reading to learn how to incorporate data-driven insights into your strategic decision-making. 

What Is Data-Driven Insights and Digital Asset Management?

In simple terms, data-driven insights refer to any information a company uses to make strategic decisions. Companies develop these insights from basic information and any discernible patterns or trends. The data can include statistics, marketing analysis, consumer information, or any collected facts and data that will help influence strategy to reach your goals.

Without these insights, it’s harder to make informed and targeted decisions. 

Digital asset management is the method and strategy of storing and organizing your information. Rather than throwing all your files and data into a computer’s folder, asset management software is designed to keep and secure your data easily.

What kind of data?

The data can include anything from photos and marketing ads to documentation to cryptocurrencies.

Digital Asset Management Platforms

The easiest way to store, analyze, and distribute your digital assets is to use digital asset management (DAM) software. Not only can you store your data, but you can streamline your process to save your team time and money.

Consider these key features when searching for the right DAM software for your business:

  • Price: Open-source DAM software is free and a great option for smaller businesses that don’t need many premium features. For larger companies with lots of data to sort, paying for premium software may be a better choice. It all depends on your business needs and goals.
  • Security: DAM software ensures you can store your data on one platform rather than share it across multiple channels, like email, Google Drive, or Dropbox. DAM platforms also allow you to set permissions to further control who has access to your information. 
  • Automation: Whether you need to add watermarks to images or gather customer data from email marketing, you want a DAM platform that allows for customized automation. The less time your team uses to complete tasks manually, the more time you can focus on growing your business. 

DAM software comes in all shapes and sizes, making finding the right platform to cater to your specific needs easy. NeverBounce is a software that verifies and cleans your email list. It prevents spam accounts and old email addresses from landing on your list.

ZoomInfo gathers information and profiles for lead generation, potential customers, and talent acquisition. Both platforms assist with strategic planning, lead generation, and reaching the appropriate consumers through data validation—which ultimately helps grow your business.

Another software, Kubera, tracks your investments and finances. By consolidating your financial data and assets into one platform, you can easily monitor stocks, bank accounts, and your portfolio in one place. Routinely tracking your finances, with the ability to look at your past and present net worth, helps build a robust operational strategy to allow you to meet and exceed your goals. 

Benefits of Using Accurate Data for Your Business

According to KPMG, 73% of organizations rely on accurate data for strategic decision-making in at least one business area. Email verification and sales solutions (addressing the customer’s pain points), in particular, are two areas that directly rely on gathering consumer information.

Here are a few benefits of using accurate data in your business:

Make Informed Decisions

Accurate data, by definition, is factual and reflects a source of truth.

Sales solutions, for example, focus on the consumer’s pain points to fashion a solution for them. Teams can take the data from a survey or poll to make informed decisions on future products or services built around solving that specific problem. Knowing your information is accurate can also boost your company’s confidence in making these decisions to support your goal further. 

Identify Potential Risks

Wherever finances are concerned, there is always potential for risks.

Using software like Kubera, which specializes in helping you track your net worth and investments, allows you to see the bigger picture of your portfolio. Closely monitoring your finances (with frequently updated information) reduces the chances of bad investment decisions that could negatively impact your financial future. 

Address Challenges Effectively

In some cases, time is of the essence.

Data and trends have the potential to change within a short period, meaning what was once relevant information in January may be irrelevant in June. Collecting accurate data is crucial to addressing challenges and consumer pain points effectively and efficiently.

Ultimately, you want the information, product, or service you provide to your audience to be relevant; otherwise, consumers won’t find it useful. 

How to Leverage Data-Driven Insights

Over time, the landscape of your industry will change.

Technological advancements and the swing of the economy can directly impact your business operations. To overcome these obstacles, you should create a robust business model with strategies to help adapt to these changes.

You also want to work through ways to continue to scale and grow your business. Leveraging data-driven insights that influence strategic decision-making can help you build an adaptable business.

Let’s examine a few ways to leverage your data-driven insights:

Data Management

At its core, the primary purpose of collecting data is to better organize and manage your information.

Making your data easily accessible – and easy to analyze – helps your team to make data-driven decisions. From there, you can address pain points, troubleshoot areas you fall short of, and develop a plan to support your business and customers.

You can also spot trends and patterns in your data and use that information to anticipate a shift in the industry.

Risk Assessment

As quickly as you may want to grow your business, choosing how and when is a strategy in itself. You don’t want to grow too fast and risk damaging the health of your business. For instance, hiring too many employees or making multiple investments at the wrong time may be a costly mistake. By studying data-driven insights, you can assess the state of your business and prepare for growth at the best time rather than mindlessly making decisions. 

Diversified Investments

Much like growing too fast, your investment decisions can have a huge impact on the future of your business. As mentioned earlier, managing your finances through software like Kubera provides a clear picture of how much money you have, where it sits, and how you can invest or leverage it.

These diversified investments are especially useful if and when the economy shifts. Creating a financial safety net through diversified investments and informed decisions can protect you in case of an emergency. 

Long-Term Strategic Planning

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of new businesses fail within their first year.

The most common reason is a lack of financial discipline, investors, or poor investments. It’s important to make data-based decisions that stabilize your finances to prevent this from happening to your business.

Beyond that, every aspect of your business can benefit from data-driven insights to support your goals. You can only achieve longevity in business by making smart decisions, and that happens through strategic planning based on accurate data.

Final Thoughts

Using data-driven insights gives your business accurate data that can help influence strategic decision-making. Collecting and managing your data is as simple as utilizing DAM software like Kubera and ZoomInfo to help organize your digital assets.

By leveraging this information, your business will continue to grow at an appropriate pace, anticipate trends in the market and industry, as well as plan for the future of your organization.

How to Uncover New Business Opportunities

StrategyDriven Strategic Analysis Article |Business Opportunities|How to Uncover New Business OpportunitiesIf you want to make a success of your business, you need to know when a good business opportunity is staring you in the face. It might sound obvious and easy, but it certainly isn’t. First of all, spotting new opportunities is easier said than done. And on top of that, you might not know an opportunity is in front of you until you’ve tried it out and seen what happens. Read on to learn more about what you can do to uncover the best new business opportunities.

Listen Closely to Your Customers

If you want to know which direction your business should go in next, it obviously makes the most sense to listen to your customers. They can tell you a lot about where you need to go and what you need to do in order to appeal to their needs. These are the people who are going to be buying from you or paying for your services, so ask them what they want from you.

Research Trends

It can be a good idea to keep an eye on trends that are relevant to the industry in which your business currently operates. That way, you can make the most of these trends, but avoid going all-in on them. Trends are often short-term and they’re not something to base your entire business model around because that’s just risky and unwise.

Think About Problems That Need to be Solved

Finding problems that your customers have and then coming up with creative ways to solve them is a great way to find new opportunities. Where there’s a problem, there’s the potential for a lucrative solution. Everyone makes purchases based on problems they have, even at the most fundamental level. So it’s definitely something you should spend some time considering.

Start Networking More

Networking is a good way to have conversations and build connections with important and influential people. This can lead to opportunities developing if you have the right conversation or make the right impression. If you don’t know how to network, this guide by Monty Cerf on how to get back into it after the pandemic might be just what you’re looking for. Once you get into the swing of it, it’s easy.

Carry Out a Cost-Benefit Analysis When You Get an Idea

Finally, you should carry out a cost-benefit analysis whenever you come up with an idea that you feel might be beneficial to you and your business. It makes sense to look at what you could achieve by following this idea and where the costs might be of focusing on that thing at the expense of other potential ideas and opportunities.

As an entrepreneur or business owner, you’ll always need to be on the lookout for new ideas and new business opportunities that you might be able to take advantage of. But what matters most is making sure that you’re able to identify the right opportunities, and the tips above will help make that possible.

StrategyDriven Enterprises

StrategyDriven Enterprises, LLC

StrategyDriven is dedicated to providing executives and managers with the planning and execution advice, tools, and practices needed to create greater organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results.

We help our clients create and execute a clear, forward-looking strategy – translatable to the day-to-day activities of all organization members – that’s critical to their realizing success in today’s fast paced market environment. Not only does a compelling, well executed strategy align individuals to a common purpose, it ensures that purpose best serves the company’s mission.

The StrategyDriven website provides access to a wide array of best practice business planning and execution tools, streamlined process flows, how-to articles, example-rich podcasts, and customizable ready-to-use program management templates. Premium Members receive access to over 200 members-only articles, whitepapers, models, and tools and templates; providing an in-depth look into critical business performance areas; placing specific focus on the alignment of organizational standards, programs, and behaviors to the optimal achievement of mission goals. Sevian Business Program purchasers receive fully implementable business performance improvement processes out-of-the-box, enabling the acceleration of business growth and heightening of operational efficiency needed to significantly improve bottom line results.

Collectively, our products offer business leaders the opportunity to access the knowledge of a highly educated and experienced staff without the associated overhead expense.

At StrategyDriven, our seasoned business leaders deliver real-world strategic business planning and tactical execution best practice advice – a blending of workplace experience with sound research and academic principles – to business leaders who may not otherwise have access to these resources.

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Do You and Your Organization Speak Data?

StrategyDriven Organizational Performance Measures ArticleSpeaking two languages makes you bilingual, and speaking three makes you trilingual. Any more than that, and you are a polyglot. In today’s data-driven business world, you are a data scientist if you can “speak data”.

Our world is becoming more and more about the data it generates. As pressure mounts, people who can analyze, visualize, and interpret data are becoming indispensable, much like a well-versed polyglot who can interpret and translate multiple languages with ease.

Speaking the language of data

Data surrounds us, and the ability to understand and interpret it should be a natural requirement for every individual and organization. Perhaps data and its projection on every surface of our surroundings will be the world’s new sign language. Thus, the new generation of human capital must possess this fundamental skill.

As individuals, we are challenged by the overwhelming amount of data we interact with in every scope of our lives. Learning how to make sense of data is becoming a necessity rather than a choice. If we want to continue to be part of this fascinating and engaging ecology – the world of Big Data, including the smart appliances, classrooms, schools, workplaces, and cities we anticipate in the near future – we need to be able to go beyond just speaking the language of data.

Using a data-driven strategy as a competitive advantage

It does not take a sophisticated algorithm to see the value of data scientists on today’s organizations. Clear distinctions are emerging between organizations that embody and embrace the data-driven world we live in and those who have not adapted and are still following a traditional approaches. Competitive organizations are embracing big data and re-engineering their strategies and processes accordingly.

In essence, these organizations are expanding their family of employees who are well-versed in data at every level of their managerial hierarchy. Clarity and transparency are of the utmost importance to data-driven environments where everyone speaks the language of data.

First and foremost, organizations have limited choices in today’s extremely dynamic business world. Data-driven strategies are inherently dynamic strategies that can help organizations bring the necessary transformations based on materialized and projected evidences. Data-driven strategies are also inherently granular, allowing management to sync and assess different layers of decisions and actions. Furthermore, data-driven strategies permit clear communication, responsibilities, and accountabilities at various decision layers.

Creating a data-driven culture

More importantly, the benefit of speaking the language of data allows organizations to be active in their communities and to learn through continuous engagement and feedback from their stakeholders. These are realities no organization can ignore for survival. However, in order to be competitive, organizations need to delve into the nitty-gritty of the language of data: the grammar, punctuation, and spelling that are required to be proficient in the world of big data. It not only requires passion, but also a bit of obsession.

Eloquent data speakers such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon serve as great role models for other organizations that are encouraged by the returns they see and that understand the growing need for their employees to communicate through data. This shift is not limited to creating a subset of employees who can analyze data, but to create a data-driven culture and environment that embraces all employees’ internal and external interactions as members of the big data ecology.

About the Author

Anteneh Ayanso is an Associate Professor of Information Systems at Brock University’s Goodman School of Business. He is certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) by APICS and teaches and researches in the areas of data management, business analytics, electronic commerce, and electronic government. Anteneh Ayanso can be contacted at (905) 688-5550 x 3498 or [email protected]

The Big Picture of Business – Yesterdayism… Learning from the Past, Planning for the Future

This Annual Report issue celebrates the year, as basis for helping business people to prepare for the future.

People are interesting combinations of the old, the new, the tried and the true. Individuals and organizations are more resilient than they tend to believe. They’ve changed more than they wish to acknowledge. They embrace innovations, while keeping the best traditions.

When one reflects at changes, he-she sees directions for the future. Change is innovative. Customs come and go… some should pass and others might well have stayed with us.

There’s nothing more permanent than change. For everything that changes, many things stay the same. The quest of life is to interpret and adapt that mixture of the old and new. People who fight change have really changed more than they think.

The past is an excellent barometer for the future. I call that Yesterdayism. One can always learn from the past, dust it off and reapply it. Living in the past is not good, nor is living in the present without wisdom of the past.

Trends come and go… the latest is not necessarily the best. Some of the old ways really work better… and should not be dismissed just because they are old or some fashionable trend of the moment looks better.

When we see how far we have come, it gives further direction for the future. Ideas make the future happen. Technology is but one tool of the trade. Futurism is about people, ideas and societal evolution, not fads and gimmicks. The marketplace tells us what they want, if we listen carefully. We also have an obligation to give them what they need.

In olden times, people learned to improvise and ‘make do.’ In modern times of instantaneous disposability, we must remember the practicalities and flexibilities of the simple things and concepts.

Things which Made Comebacks…

Ceiling fans. The jitterbug and swing music. Hardwood floors. Stained glass.

Things the Economy Has Exempted…

Penny arcades. Five-and-dime stores. Full-service gas stations. Free car washes at gas stations. Towels in boxes of detergent. Mom-and-pop stores. S&H Green Stamps and other redemption programs.

Things which the Marketplace Has Eclipsed…

  • Ice delivered in blocks via a horse-driven carriage by the ice man
  • Milk delivered in bottles via a horse-driven carriage by the milk man
  • Going downtown to do all of your shopping
  • Drive-in movies
  • Stores closed on Sundays

The Old Became the New Again…

The original speed for phonograph records, as invented in 1888, was 78-RPM, which engineers determined to be the most ideal for sound quality. In the 1940s, technology brought us the 45-RPM and 33-1/3-RPM records… adding up to the ‘mother speed’ of 78-RPM. The 1980s brought us compact discs, which play at a speed of 78-RPM.

Station wagons of the 1950s went out of style. They came back in the 1980s as sport utility vehicles.

Midwives were widely utilized in previous centuries. In modern times, alternative health care concepts and practitioners have been embraced by all sectors of society. Herbal ingredients and home remedies have gained popularity, and cottage industries support them.

Telephone party lines went out of style in the 1920s. They came back in the 1990s as internet chat rooms.

Corporations have become extended families, thus embracing dysfunctionality, changes, modifications and learning curves.

Schools started out as full-scope community centers. As the years passed, academic programs grew and became more specialized, covering many vital subject areas. Today, with parents and communities severely neglecting children and their life-skills education, schools have evolved back to being full-scope community centers.

7 Levels of Yesterdayism… Learning from the Past… Sources of Insights:

  1. Think They’ve Been There… Haven’t Yet Fully Learned from It.
  2. Saw It Happen… Understand It.
  3. Participated In It.
  4. Been There… Learned from It.
  5. Teach, Understand and Interpret It.
  6. Innovated It… and Teach You Why.
  7. Innovative Then and Now… Still Creating.

7 Applications for Yesterdayism… How to Shape the Past Into the Future:

  1. Re-Reading… Reviewing… Finding New Nuggets in Old Files.
  2. Applying Pop Culture to Today.
  3. Review case studies and their patterns for repeating themselves.
  4. Discern the differences between trends and fads.
  5. Learn from successes… and three times more from failures.
  6. Transition your organization from information down the branches to knowledge.
  7. Apply thinking processes to be truly innovative.

Apply History to Yourself. The past repeats itself. History is not something boring that you once studied in school. It tracks both vision and blindspots for human beings. History can be a wise mentor and help you to avoid making critical mistakes.

7 Kinds of Reunions… obtaining perspective:

  1. Pleasurable. Seeing an old friend who has done well, moved in a new direction and is genuinely happy to see you too. These include chance meetings, reasons to reconnect and a concerted effort by one party to stay in the loop.
  2. Painful. Talking to someone who has not moved forward. It’s like the conversation you had with them 15 years ago simply resumed. They talk only about past matters and don’t want to hear what you’re doing now. These include people with whom you once worked, old romances, former neighbors, networkers who keep turning up like bad pennies and colleagues from another day and time.
  3. Mandated. Meetings, receptions, etc. Sometimes, they’re pleasurable, such as retirement parties, open houses, community service functions. Other times, they’re painful, such as funerals or attending a bankruptcy creditors’ meeting.
  4. Instructional. See what has progressed and who have changed. Hear the success stories. High school reunions fit into this category… their value depending upon the mindset you take with you to the occasion.
  5. Reflect Upon the Past. Reconnecting with old friends, former colleagues and citizens for whom you have great respect. This is an excellent way to share each other’s progress and give understanding for courses of choice.
  6. Benchmarking. Good opportunities to compare successes, case studies, methodologies, learning curves and insights. When ‘the best’ connects with ‘the best,’ this is highly energizing.
  7. Goal Inspiring. The synergy of your present and theirs inspires the future. Good thinkers are rare… stay in contact with those whom you know, admire and respect. It will benefit all involved.

About the Author

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flameis now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.