Data is the backbone that powers some of the most innovative and creative companies on the planet. The ability to harness data to create actionable insight is an essential tool that companies of all sizes need to adopt to stay ahead of the curve. Ensuring that their business strategy is backed up by insight, rather than guesswork is often the difference between success and failure in today’s fast-changing marketplace. Despite this, achieving a data-driven approach is easier said than done.
Some of the world’s leading consumer goods companies are coming under greater threat from the competition as they fight to create data-driven, agile work cultures.
It’s a Race Against Time
In recent years, a wave of venture-backed startups have threatened traditional consumer goods companies by placing data at the heart of everything they do. Startups like Casper and Warby Parker have developed new direct-to-consumer distribution models, where the customer experience is constantly monitored and optimized. Not only do they use data to inform their product development strategy, but they also analyze what people are looking at, their dwell times and dropout rates to see how they can better cater their propositions.
Likewise, online retail giants like Amazon are using data collected on their platform to launch new products and business units designed to compete with traditional consumer goods companies. Amazon has become an expert at analyzing the data it collects when selling competitor products on its platform, allowing it to launch its own successful brands that eat into market share.
These factors are making life tough for global organizations that have found it difficult to adopt an agile, data-driven approach due to the legacy systems and processes that were built for times of old.
Avoid Creating Bottlenecks
That said, there are very few businesses that sit on the amount of data available to the largest consumer goods companies. So, the task is ensuring that data is used to create insight and inform strategy, rather than ending up on the scrapheap.
Too often though, turning data into insight sits with an overstretched Marketing Insights team. Their job is to ensure that stakeholders across organizations – from marketeers to sales executives – are equipped with the insights they need to build robust campaigns and business cases that will succeed. However, the reality is that an explosion of unstructured data, combined with the expansion of diverse, global teams has led to many Marketing Insights teams struggling to keep up with the demands placed on them.
Folder based legacy systems make it difficult to store data, while outdated processes mean they are swamped by a sea of ‘data requests’ from across the company that require shorter bursts of often replicated data analysis. Not only creating frustration for Insights teams but also starving organizations of deeper analysis that will have wider company impact. And, it’s not only the Marketing Insights team who suffer.
Research from Mckinsey found that on the whole employees can spend up to 20% of their time searching for hard to find information. On top of this, companies are spending huge amounts of their annual research budgets buying duplicate market insights reports, many believe this to be as much as 15-20%.
The result is that mountains of valuable insights end up in a data graveyard. Knowledge silos naturally form across the organization having a direct impact on the pace of innovation. All this plays into the hands of digitally-native competitors who are not bound by the same legacy systems and processes. But, there is another way.
Create Independent Thinkers
Global organizations who focus on ditching legacy folder-based storage systems, and removing outdated processes will be the ones who fight back and continue to compete.
Much like their digitally-native competition, their most prized asset is their data. Placing it in the hands of their global organization with more rich insight will have a compounding effect on their ability to develop a market-leading strategy.
The secret to success is making it easy for employees at all levels of the organization to store data and market insights in a way that empowers them. Employees need to be able to get quick access to insights at their fingertips, avoiding knowledge silos or wasting valuable time by burdening their team members. What’s more, research budgets can be invested in new insights, rather than wasted on previously bought research reports that would be destined for the data graveyard.
Failure to adapt by relying on outdated systems and processes will threaten the existence of even the most well regarded global organizations. It’s time they unblock their data bottlenecks and create independent thinkers that make better business decisions.