Ever wonder if you’re just going down a rabbit hole? While it’s important to venture through many paths in determining the best business decisions and maximise opportunities, not every endeavour will be fruitful. Instead of wasting precious time and resources chasing or working on ideas that aren’t worth it, depend on Big Data to inform you before it’s too late.
Efficiency and productivity are sought after no matter the industry. To maximise both of these, there’s literally no time to waste. When organisations get too wrapped up in something that isn’t producing a return or working out as hoped, it results in inefficiencies and creates risk—risk of lost profits and capital as well as reduced emphasis on other areas. Big or small, companies can sustain little loss in a very competitive market.
Using Big Data to Stop Wasting Time
Not every idea is profitable or executable. It doesn’t mean the idea is bad; it just may not be viable at the moment. After all, studies done by Booz & Company and Doblin Group show that 66% of products fail within the first two years while 96% of all innovations don’t recoup the initial costs. This is especially true if you’re an SME or have any types of limitations on capital and resources. You simply don’t have the luxury to go too far down the wrong path.
As such, consider the benefits of predictive analytics and what it can reveal before you work on a particular task or project. Predictive analytics takes historical data and analyses it for trends which can reveal important insights for the future. Through this, patterns are seen and predictions can be made with more accuracy. Predictive analytics is used to make forecasts for current products or services, but it also holds insights about what appetite your current customer base may have for new products.
If you’re a retailer who has a successful business selling, say, a variety of gourmet nuts, you can use transaction data from the past year to forecast what your expected sales will be this year. If you take this predictive model and combine it with other data from your consumer base such as demographics and the interests of your social media followers, then layer this with data about the gourmet snack industry, you can look at a much bigger picture to determine if it’s time to diversify.
Is their growth in the industry? Do your Facebook fans also like gourmet pretzels? These are the kinds of questions Big Data can answer. Before you begin to pull together resources and start spending big bucks, Big Data can give you an idea if there is indeed an opportunity or if you’re just wasting your time.
With proper analysis, data can yield other kinds of insights that will tell you if it’s worthwhile to continue with a task, project, or initiative or if you should just stop (or at least do a bit of tweaking). For example, feedback derived from sources such as online polls, social media posts, and offline surveys can help you gauge market response towards a product or campaign. If you get good satisfaction ratings, then continuing makes sense. If you’re getting mixed reactions, you may need to dig deeper and see if you must change anything. If stats are low then ditching the whole thing should at least be considered.
However, market satisfaction must also be gauged with budgetary factors, ROI, and time. Remember that businesses’ real aim is the bottom line. Therefore, analysing data on areas such as project spending, production and delivery times, and revenue should give you a better idea if you should continue or switch to a new project. If your product or project is getting good reviews but there’s just too much time involved in delivery or the profits gained are just above break-even, then you must either determine if you need to change anything or discontinue the task entirely. Current projects entail operational costs each day and require manpower hours. Therefore, efficiency is key. It’s wise to monitor and see how things are going and if you’re reaching your targets—two things which reveal whether or not you’re better off investing company resources on other endeavours.
In the case of new projects, while current data may be scarce, you can use historical data on similar projects to come up with benchmarks. As discussed, past data and predictive analytics can tell you if moving forward with a product or project is the right choice. Other sources of relevant data such as the Internet of Things, social media, and customer interactions can also help you plan ahead and predict what you should do or change regarding a new product or initiative to lessen the risk of wasted time and resources and increase the chances of success.
The importance of all this is amplified for SMEs. With lesser resources and much lower margins of error involved, maximising time, manpower, and funds is more than just a goal, it’s a necessity for survival.
Consumer Goods Giant Leverages Big Data
Procter and Gamble, a leading global consumer goods manufacturer, has been using Big Data to guide its new product development initiatives. The company has been aggregating consumer data across many different sources. This data has provided insights on what products to launch and promote and informs the company on what its customers want and prefer.
With such breadth of data and keen understanding, they can avoid missteps and wasted resources and ensure manpower delegation, budget planning, and research are all done properly. A large manufacturer must operate efficiently and make prudent decisions if it plans to disrupt production cycles to improve a product or launch a new one. There’s little room for error here, and Big Data is making this much more of a reality. For a brand that spends over $2 billion annually on research and development, these decisions aren’t made lightly.
Make Better Decisions with Big Data
The greatest value of Big Data for any organisation is its ability to help leaders make the right decisions. Having insights from analysed data can prevent you from wasting more time and funds on a futile venture. As such, it’s important to have the right tools for the job. Latize’s intelligent data management platform Ulysses harmonises data from different sources, paving the way for businesses to derive the needed insights on different things—both internal and external—so that decision-making can be made faster and more effectively. Learn more about Ulysses today.