Now that the hype has died down, the benefits of big data are no longer in question. Mounting research shows that organizations that have embraced big data and analytics are reaping real returns. In fact,McKinsey & Company tells us that companies that have adopted data-driven strategies enjoy 5 percent higher productivity and 6 percent higher profits than their competitors. And,a recent McKinsey analysis of more than 250 engagements over a five year period revealed companies that rely heavily on data for making marketing and sales decisions can boost their ROI by 15–20 percent.
These statistics aren’t surprising. The insights gained by an organization through analyzing large volumes of internal and external data can be game changing—especially when those insights are applied to the strategic planning process.Surveys show that only 45 percent of businesses are satisfied with their current strategic planning process. If your organization fails to find itself in that 45 percent, then allow us to give you a look into some of the ways forward-thinking businesses can leverage the power of big data in strategic planning:
We live in a digital era, so our world is built on information. Data of all kinds is pouring in from everywhere these days, just waiting for someone to collect and analyze it. But while data was at one time structured and fairly easy to process, the sheer volume of information now available has resulted in data that is raw, unstructured, and complex. It flows constantly from social media interactions, smart technologies, sensors, gauges, mobile devices, videos, texts, and countless other sources. Since much of this data is generated through personal habits, behaviors, and activities, it contains valuable and actionable insights that can inform decisions and help companies formulate more targeted and personalized business strategies. Fortunately for businesses, collecting, managing, and analyzing massive amounts of unstructured data are what big data analytics platforms do best.
Before big data came into existence, corporate data pertaining to various departments was traditionally stored in those departments, creating data “silos” that severely hampered internal communication. Put simply, the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing. Now, thanks to big data analytics platforms, all corporate data can be shared across every channel within an organization. This means that, for example, the marketing department has access to data from the sales department, and vice versa. As a result, each department can work collaboratively, sharing data and insights that can be used to formulate strategies that are more unified and better focused on achieving corporate goals.
In addition, once silos are broken down, big data analytics can bring different data sets together in new ways. This results in the creation of deeper insights that serve the needs of the organization and its customers in ways not possible with traditional analytics tools.
Sales organizations can use big data analytics to gain a more accurate picture of each step in the sales funnel. Using key metrics, sales managers are able to keep track of the number of opportunities or leads in the funnel, and also determine the arrival or acquisition rate of these opportunities. They can also determine the total possible value of every deal in the funnel at any given time, and how long prospects are in the funnel before they are acquired, along with the average percentage of closes—or “win rate”—that the sales team moves through the funnel.