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IT & InnovationSamir Sharma: How To Crush Your Competition With A Data Strategy

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Samir Sharma
Posted bySamir Sharma

Samir is a data strategy and analytics consultant and founder of datazuum: specialising in creating effective data strategies, helping organisations succeed with their data initiatives. 

Over the last few months, I've been speaking at a number of conferences in the UK, Europe and Africa. After my keynote speeches, conversations would occur with a number of people, with titles such as: "Head of Data Science", "Head of Data Architecture", "Head of Data Management" etc. The one thread that emerged through the conversations were that most of these organisations are still doing data in isolation across their businesses. When asked why? Most came back that there was a lack of a data strategy and too many chiefs involved in the chain of command around data. Thankfully, the CDO (Chief Data Officer) is going to address this.

So, with that said, I then looked at all those "new" organisations who are "data-driven" or what is now being called as "data-analytics-driven". Some examples are:

Airbnb, Facebook, Netflix, Alibaba, Uber

The largest accommodation provider owns no real estate, the most popular media provider creates no content, the fastest growing television network lays no cables, the most valuable retailer has no inventory, the world’s largest taxi company owns no vehicles!

Can you apply their data strategy?

Can you make yourself flexible and agile in your business methods by putting your data at the heart of your business? This isn't about how to implement a data strategy, more so, an article about which areas data can impact in your organisation.

Three areas where data should be supporting your business:

1. Operations and Processes: Using data that is generated by systems, machines, sensors etc. provides organisations with insights into their operations. This helps to identify where there are inefficiencies in the process and potential bottlenecks, that if tweaked can be become better performing. For example: in the area of product development you might want to look at the processes of how products are being developed and can these processes be sped up. This could provide cost savings, as well as speed to market, and could be the difference between getting in front of your competitor.

2. Customer Experience: Most companies want to understand their customers in greater detail. Who are they, where are they, what do they buy, why do they buy, when do they buy etc. If you want to increase your customer loyalty and grow your revenue, then you will need to ask these questions to keep them buying from you (loyalty), be able to sell them other products they didn’t know they wanted (by spotting trends that may not have been apparent until you had the full picture), and again just as above, learning more about your customers can provide you with an advantage over your competition. From the above examples of companies, Facebook is probably the leader in this area, offering targeted advertising which helps companies pinpoint with extreme precision a specific demographic etc.

3. New Revenue Streams: Getting under the skin of your data and uncovering more than you know now, can provide you with new revenue streams in new markets. I call this data monetisation, and this is not a dirty word. Data monetisation is effectively using the data that you collect and generate in your business and uncovering where this data may be useful in other industries; the Telecoms industry provides advertisers with location based data about their customers that can help in targeting ads on billboards. If you don’t know the new video screen in Piccadilly Circus, is doing just that. As cars and people pass by the data will be aggregated and anonymised to target people with specific adverts. If you look at the data you generate, I bet there are aspects of information that can be of value to other industries. One thing to remember here is that you are not giving individual data to companies, instead you are not divulging any personal identifying information, but anonymised and aggregated so that no one can work it out to an individual level.

Developing a data strategy will help you focus on your business objectives, and it is a hugely exciting time to be using your data to achieve incredible business results, and of course making a run against your competition!

Take a look at datazuum for further information. 

If you are looking for a new data role or hiring, contact our Haed of Data Analytics Leah Matkin or Data Specialist James Rutter for more information. 



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