You’re probably at least vaguely aware of the importance of data in modern businesses. You must have heard the terms “big data” or “business intelligence” around or seen them mentioned in article before. But perhaps you’ve simply dismissed them as buzzwords to which you don’t really need to pay that much attention.
But since when has having more intelligence – or data – not put someone at an advantage in the business world? Data is of supreme importance if you want to ensure your business excels – especially when you consider how much your competition may already be relying on new data mining methods, as well as how big the market for data is.
The market for data
The data market is big. And I’m not just talking ‘millions’ big’ I’m talking billions. The data industry has been making billions on the back of these business trends for a good few years now. In 2012, the business intelligence market raked in an impressive $76 billion. In 2015, the market was estimated to be worth around $122 billion. Precise figures for 2016 have been hard to come by, but estimates place the market for data last year at around the $140-180 billion mark. This is a market that’s growing very healthily – and these figures should highlight to you just how important business intelligence is for expansion and growth right now.
What kind of data are we talking about here?
Pretty much any data that’s relevant to your business can be included here. There’s personal data, which covers demographic, location, and contact information; the sort of stuff that Facebook and phone companies are under pressure from several groups to either protect or divulge. Transactional data, which requires an action to generate, such as clicking on an advert, or buying something online, is also important.
So how exactly are you supposed to gather all this data? There are several methods, depending on where you want to get the data from – and it’s pretty important that you cover as many bases as possible! Collecting data in-store – especially transactional data – can be done using handy NFC devices. Gaining followers on social media and polling them can give you a lot of info about the sort of audience and customers you’re attracting. Analytics is also essential when it comes to assessing the strength of your digital marketing – Google Analytics is probably the biggest name when it comes to this sort of thing.
The answer your data should provide
What your business will need from its data will be different from what another one needs. Data requirements and the importance of particular information criteria will vary from business to business – but there are some very general questions that data needs to be able to answer for pretty much any business. For example, where should you be pouring more resources, and are there any areas in which your current resource use is a waste? What markets should you be aiming for next? Is there any discernable pattern to how, why, when, and how customers are buying your products or services? A look at such questions should quickly reveal why data collection is so essential to business.