At its best, your business strategy provides your organization with the blueprint for how you’ll achieve your objectives. But while actual blueprints are based on hard mathematical measurements, business strategies are a little more slippery.
Or are they?
Not necessarily. When you base your business strategy in data analytics, you provide a firm foundation rooted in hard numbers and facts. That can help you spot hidden patterns and trends, give you confidence to stay the course, or warn you that you need to make adjustments.
But before it can do any of that, you need to understand what data analytics is and what it can tell you about strategy.
What is data analytics?
On the surface, this question seems straightforward: Data analytics is the process of analyzing information your business has collected to identify patterns and trends. Examining this data enables you to draw larger conclusions that have implications for your business strategy.
But hold up: Before you make any big decisions, you need to be sure the information you’re using is accurate. If your organization uses legacy systems, inadequate processes, or data storage methods that make information difficult to access and collate, your analytics may not return reliable results.
That’s why data modernization is the secret first step toward any strategic undertaking based on data analytics. Modernizing your data ensures you have the complete picture and that your analysis is based on accurate, up-to-date information. Only then do you have what you need to draw accurate conclusions.
Four things data analytics will tell you about your business strategy
Although your data might reveal all kinds of surprising, interesting, or even alarming trends within your organization, when it comes to the success of your current business strategy, you’re going to learn one of four things.
1. Your current strategy is producing the intended results.
This is what everyone hopes to hear—that the current strategic initiatives are leading the business in the right direction. If that’s the case, you may be content to keep on keepin’ on. Or maybe you’ll want to find ways to continue building momentum by focusing on segments within your organization, like finding and hiring talent. (After all, there’s always room for improvement.)
2. Your current strategy hasn’t moved the needle.
It’s incredibly frustrating to put together a strategic plan, execute it, and then discover that it produced no result. If you trust your data is accurate and your analysis is complete, then it might be time to go back and look at the business strategy itself and determine whether it simply needs refinement, or if it needs a complete overhaul from the ground up.
3. Your current strategy has resulted in a negative outcome.
After implementing your strategy, are you earning less money? Getting fewer leads? Struggling to hire the right people? When your strategy results in inferior outcomes to what you had before, it’s probably a sign you should have checked in with your data sooner and more often. A data analytics solution that helps you quickly identify opportunities could be the change you need.
4. Your current strategy has produced underwhelming wins.
You didn’t invest significant resources in defining and executing a business strategy only to be bored stiff by the results. Different business intelligence or a strategic data assessment could lead to more exciting outcomes.
Using data analytics to refine your strategic approach
Even if your data analytics yields good news about your strategic approach, there’s always room for refinement. The more you can make data central to your decision-making process, the better you’ll be positioned to grow as the market continues to change.
What your data reveals should inform—not dictate—your strategic business decisions. In other words, if the data shows a surprising shift in the market, your job isn’t to drop what you’re doing to chase the trend. Instead, a business-driven analytics strategy clarifies your actions because it articulates what you’re trying to achieve and how data analytics will help you achieve it.
With those elements in place, you can begin a process of continuous improvement based on the information you collect and examine. The enhancements you make over time, rooted in quantitative analysis, will have a powerful effect on your business.
Take your data analytics to the next level
Wrangling data can make herding cats look easy by comparison. Building a single source of truth for your data, modernizing your infrastructure, and feeling confident about your strategic objectives are all tough even by themselves. And once you’ve achieved that, you still may be uncertain about how to pull all these threads together to advance your business. That’s when working with an experienced partner can help you make sense of it all.
Are you ready to use data to drive better outcomes? Here’s how you start.
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