Through the last 30 or so years, the internet, technology and computers have completely transformed business and the workplace in general, transforming how – and where – firms can operate. However, as the digitalization of business continues apace, many experts would argue we’re merely seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of how tech and data could revolutionize commerce.
The digitalization of business
The recent moves by companies of all sizes in all sectors to increase the use of tech in their operations is driving an overall digital transformation of business – so much so, that analysts suggest we’re now in the throes of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. Tech is becoming an integral force in all aspects of business – from the boardroom to the production floor and beyond, helping firms make intelligent, proactive decisions.
The increased knowledge and understanding that can be gained by gathering, interpreting and acting upon data can allow firms to make more accurate predictions that help minimize losses, reduce downtime and streamline operations.
Data has been an integral part of most companies for many years but it’s only over the last few years that the value of interpretive software and data analysis has been fully realized. To take advantage of these insights, you (or your employees) should consider studying the best online master’s program in data science so you too can have the skills to gather and interpret the data your company produces.
Below are just a few ways data is coming to shape modern business practices and help firms gain an edge over their rivals in a highly competitive, global market.
Improved business intelligence
Better business intelligence comes from data analysis. These days, it’s almost impossible to think of any firm that doesn’t produce data to at least some degree. From relatively simple email communications and time spent online right up to the Big Data production seen in the global multinationals, all firms can benefit from analysis of this data.
Collating and analyzing a firm’s data can improve everything from employee performance to streamlining production procedures and even keeping a handle on client/company relations.
Targeted marketing and improved promotions campaigns
Marketing was one of the first sectors to fully realize the benefits of data analysis – particularly when it came to online promotions. However, while there’s nothing particularly new about the idea of being able to monitor the behavior of users online, things have stepped up considerably in recent years with the ability to bring together from seemingly disparate sources to get an overall better understanding of consumers and buying habits.
For example, Big Data analysis of consumers can accurately inform businesses on previous purchases to then allow them to make suggestions on other products that might be of interest. Case in point, Amazon’s subtle recommendations panels and follow-up emails have helped it become one of the world’s largest retailers.
Imagine if your firm had the level of understanding that it could automatically make predictions on what a client might purchase next. This is completely other-level marketing that has the proven potential to give firms an upper hand against their rivals.
Improvements in efficiency
By studying current processes and isolating and identifying problems in the production cycle, firms can drive greater efficiency with the overall goal of streamlining their operations and generating better Returns on Investment (ROI). Applications and smart devices are now already so advanced that they can effectively monitor all aspects of how a firm works – giving insights into everything from production techniques to overall employee efficiency. This kind of advanced monitoring helps company bosses isolate areas of improvement which, in turn, increases efficiency.
Taking a more proactive approach to customer care and service
As firms gather more and more information on their clients, it becomes possible to make predictions on the type of support or care they might need – sometimes before the client is even aware of a problem.
For example, by studying a client’s previous purchases or even monitoring their activity on a company website, datasets can be produced which might accurately predict issues they might encounter further down the line. In turn, this level of knowledge could then be used to automate helpline support, without the need for taking up human resources.
Further, by integrating Customer Relationship Management (CRM) apps into their digital operations, firms are already able to track and monitor the entire customer journey – from initial purchase right through to aftercare and follow-up marketing. Again, this level of attention and care would have previously been impossible to achieve without data analysis.
Helping manufacturers produce better products, bespoke to client needs
It’s the goal of most firms to produce the best and most in-demand products. By studying buying habits, collating customer feedback and recording customer care issues, manufacturers can design and develop better products that address the needs of their clients better.
Previously, support line calls, emails, purchasing behaviors and complaints would have been stored separately (if at all), making them almost impossible to act upon. By converging this invaluable data into one system, companies can take a wider view and build products that are more likely to be wanted by their customers (both potential and existing).
Reduce costs and waste
Some level of waste is almost inevitable in most companies but having a clearer handle on which aspects of a company are draining the most resources allows firms to mitigate waste and help reduce overall costs. Perhaps more importantly, this level of insight and understanding also gives firms the ability to predict future demand so that they don’t overstretch themselves.
Greater business intelligence gives a much clearer and wider view of how a firm is performing – or underperforming – in everything from its staff to its marketing and production operations. Most firms aim to work at maximum efficiency, producing the best products with the lowest outlay thereby maximizing profit margins. Data analysis takes this to a completely different level by giving a micro and macro view of processes to isolate problem areas.
The digitalization of business and manufacturing is well underway. Those firms that have already embraced technology and automation into their day-to-day operations are already powering ahead. For the firms of the future to stay competitive and thrive rather than just survive, they will need to look at better digital integration across all facets of their procedures.
Interesting Related Article: “What is big data? Definition and examples“