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Data as an asset: Using organizational data to stay relevant

Data as an asset: Using organizational data to stay relevant in an age of disruption

I’m Marsha Parker, the Strategist & Technology Leader at the Ford Motor Company in Detroit, MI. In this 4-part blog series, I’ll explain the value of data analytics and analyze case studies to demonstrate the importance of data management for any business in the modern technological age.

Companies large and small are facing unprecedented obstacles during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the biggest challenges businesses are dealing with is the ability to remain competitive, innovative and relevant as consumer demand and interests shift towards convenience and simplicity.

In order to remain a competitive player in their respective industries, companies will have to make major new decisions on how to improve the customer experience and distinguish themselves and their products from other businesses.  

One major way your company can differentiate itself is by innovatively using data to help facilitate business processes. As an aspiring data professional, you’ll implement strategic recommendations to help your company use data to its advantage.

Why is data important to a company’s growth and stability?

Let’s take a look at a company who shifted its view of data to define itself as a game changer in the food industry by seeking out alternative forms of revenue and profit streams.

According to Supermarket News, “The Kroger, Co. generated $100 Million in incremental revenue per year by selling its inventory and point-of-sale data, and by making its data available to syndicated data providers.”

Kroger transformed its business model to grow market share by monetizing its consumer data, which helped to redefine its brand and reputation as the largest supermarket company, in terms of revenue. Kroger was also able to strengthen its delivery ecosystem by investing in businesses and partnerships that generated alternative streams of revenue.

“Building Kroger's financial model through traditional supermarket and grocery retail blends is tantamount to looking in the rearview mirror,” says Chairman and CEO of Kroger, Rodney McMullen.

Kroger executives realized that data is the new “currency” for tracking consumer habits. This is because data enables companies to identify emerging trends that shape consumer behavior. From examining consumer trends, Kroger shifted its approach to help enhance the customer experience. This included redefining the store’s digital offerings, improving the store delivery model, modifying product pricing and optimizing retail stores. Kroger was able to successfully re-shape its business model to redefine the customer experience and produce additional sources of revenue.

How can you use data to propel strategic growth and define future profitable opportunities at your company?  

Here’s a couple of points to consider as you explore options for redefining your company’s view of data:

  1. Understand consumer behavior and trends by defining pain points + frustrations
  2. Examine consumer data for clues through predictive modeling techniques
  3. Build a data strategy linked to business strategy (along with a data management plan)
  4. Socialize and democratize data as the game changer within your company
  5. Develop a data ethics code of conduct

Let’s examine each proof point that will shape your company’s enablement of strategic data use:

  1. Understand consumer behavior and trends by defining pain points + frustrations

A good first step to understanding your customer’s attitudes and behavior is by having a data scientist formulate a business problem. This is a structured approach that allows a data scientist to diagnose fundamental business issues, and aims to incorporate research and feedback from your customers or audience. Performing this analysis will help the scientist understand the audience more deeply, conduct user research and develop a guiding central question.

In your role as a data professional, you will help shape the business problem, formulate a data narrative and transform how data is used in alignment with the business strategy. Once the business “problem” is answered, you’ll gain a clearer understanding of your customer’s perspective.

  1. Examine consumer behavior through predictive modeling techniques

Predictive analytics is a statistical technique from data mining, predictive modelling, and machine learning that seeks to extract information from data to predict trends and behavior patterns. 

Predictive analytics and insights will allow you as a data professional to explore patterns and trends to predict what might happen. In business, predictive models exploit patterns found in historical and transactional data to identify risks and opportunities.

  1. Build a robust data strategy

Your data strategy should showcase a vision for how a company will manage and use data. As you’ll come to learn, data management is the process of planning and creating strategies for handling the data created, stored and processed by an organization. Therefore, your strategy should address the following questions:

  • How will you organize your business to support your data needs?
  • How will you define your data partnerships?
  • What strategies will you use to build trust about this data environment?
  • How will you grow your data environment to meet the needs of your community?

A strong data plan will enable your company to define its data vision and decide how it will manage the lifecycle of data. Data governance is all about the roles, responsibilities, and processes for ensuring accountability and ownership of data assets. 

  1. Socialize data as the game changer within your company

As a data professional, you will become a data advocate. This means that you will work to socialize the benefits of capturing quality data. You’ll also ensure that data literacy is obtained at all levels of the company, and you will help to build partnerships that advocate for data integrity in all business decisions. 

  1. Develop a data ethics code of conduct

A data ethics code of conduct establishes a set of behavior norms and standards for how a company should act in any given situation with regard to data assets. This code of conduct starts with creating a level of transparency about data within your company. Data ethics ensures accountability when collecting, analyzing, storing or managing data with the goal of minimizing risk to a company. Ethical decision making is best achieved by taking a holistic contextual approach to intentional use of data. 

Consumers are becoming astute at managing who has access to their data in today’s day and age. Companies should become equally as astute at becoming strategic in the use of data to ensure their sustainability for years to come. Building your employees’ data knowledge requires an ongoing investment in developing data literacy skills, and as a data professional, you will see the rewards evolve if data is used innovatively. Keep reading this 4-part data analytics series to learn about how you can implement new data processes to best serve your organization in the 21st century.      

Ready to begin your journey into a data-centered professional role? Enroll in Becker’s Data & Analytics for Business Professionals Certificate today to learn about all things data management and organization. Bring your company into the 21st-century data landscape with help from Becker.

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