Most company leaders agree that the ability to make data driven decisions will be critical to their business in 2017. But how many have put together a timeline and budget to get them there? In the past year, our team has engaged in over 4000 conversations with customers and prospects, which provided us some insights as to why some organizations are still resistant to technology adoption in this area.
Below are 3 of the most common myths (or excuses) believed by companies that hinder them from owning their data and gaining a competitive edge.
Myth #1 It’s too expensive and we don’t have the budget
This is the biggest excuse we’ve all heard, regardless of our industries. The misconception is that almost any form of BI and data analytics is costly and therefore, seen as a large unnecessary expense.
Truth: Of course, being data driven and mastering your insights doesn’t come for free. However, forward thinking companies are quick to realise that this is a worthwhile investment. They treat this investment as a profit centre for the entire business, not an overhead. These leaders are aware that it isn’t “just another expense”; it’s an investment towards competitive advantage – to become the company that develops the most intelligent customer engagement programs and answers business questions with the greatest clarity. It’s future-proofing their business by becoming agile, and responding to opportunities efficiently. Furthermore, there is a growing arsenal of affordable and scalable technology solutions of varying price points, so there is really no excuse to not start trying.
Myth #2 It’s too difficult and we don’t have the time to learn
Many believe that data tools are difficult to use and hence integration and implementation will take way too much time. In a fast-paced world, most teams are already barely able to keep up with their current workload. They cannot imagine having to set aside time for training sessions for learning new tools. Worse, what happens when staff have zero technical training or coding skills? Don’t you need to be a data analyst or scientist in order to do this?
Truth: As stated earlier, there are many solutions that cater to differing business needs, with many requiring very little or even zero technical skills. A growing number of tools have automated data wrangling such that anyone can handle their data sets independently to extract varying degrees of insights. Companies who do not have a large budget or resources to build things from the ground up internally, can partner with more agile startups who have the time, and more importantly, the expertise. Naturally, ease of use should be a deciding factor so that once it is built according to custom specifications, key stakeholders can easily access and use it.
Several companies, including the Fortune 500s, now team up with startups as part of a larger digital ecosystem to accelerate their growth. Recognising and embracing these partnerships is not an admission of weakness or a flaw in the business; it is now the norm for businesses that wish to achieve digital escape velocity.
Myth #3 We’ve always done it this way
Perhaps this isn’t a myth as much as it is a backward mindset or culture, but it is still an excuse. Companies are made up of people, who in general are uncomfortable with change. This makes many fall back on the oft-quoted refrain – “We’ve always done it this way,” along with “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Truth: Change is the only constant, and just like companies that don’t embrace the digitalisation of business, people who cannot accept and embrace change will not thrive. Companies need to foster a culture of innovation in order to continuously adapt to changing environments and consumer demands. One of the most disruptive forces in any business is not your competitor or the latest unicorn on the scene. It is the customer. Your very own client base. In a PwC CEO survey conducted last year, over half of respondents believe it’s “somewhat” or “very likely” that customers will replace one of their products or services with an alternative solution in the next five years.
When that happens to your business, will you know who they are, or why?
If you don’t have decision technology, you won’t be able to answer your own questions and you’ll always be left in the dark. Those that already have data to decision technology in place, will be able to identify these customers, and in a best case scenario, prevent them from leaving before it is too late.
Beyond 2017, the volume of data is only going to increase. Data in the future will be digital, hidden but accessible if you have the right tools. When you ask “Why is this happening?” are you able to get at the underlying reason? The most competitive companies already have robust data pipelines, and will build on that to make data as smart for marketers as they are for users. If you don’t and allow your business to be held back by the myths above, you risk being left behind. Start building that process today and safeguarding your data to make it work for you.