It’s true, every company is becoming a software company. But, the companies that are thriving are those who’ve turned their front end business users— sales reps, service agents, marketers, and everyone in between– into data citizens by allowing them to leverage the massive amounts of available data in order to drive customer success.
Business users 10 years ago had access to a fraction of the data that is currently available for making decisions. Now the reality is that business users are flooded with a sea of data from their customers, employees, partners and competitors. But are they smarter? Probably not.
This data revolution gave way to a plethora of sophisticated analytics tools aimed at helping companies make sense of this data. The catch is that these tools are complex and built for data scientists and IT, not the business users looking for answers in the context of their business. In order to truly take advantage of the fact that software is eating the world, companies must advocate for the masses by arming everyday business users and frontline employees with easy-to-use analytics tools. After all, this group has the most essential ingredient for success– context for data insights and the ability to drive change, because they are the ones running the day to day business, talking to customers, and taking action on insights.
So how do business users get started with analytics and transform into data citizens?
- Have an on-going dialog with your data. The beauty of easy-to-use analytics that are built with your specific workflow in mind is that you no longer have to rely on an analyst to get the answers you need. Instead, you are able to uncover insights on your own, interact directly with data and use best practice KPIs to determine the best course of action. Start by prioritizing the most critical questions that help you better understand your customers, from there explore these insights and ask follow up questions in to make smarter, more impactful decisions.
- Utilize your various data sources. Customers are creating data in all shapes, sizes and frequencies. And with so many data sources available to us, insights shouldn’t be based on a one-dimensional view of your business. However the old adage of “garbage in, garbage out” does hold true. Make sure your analytics tool has the ability to visually transform data, from bringing data in and cleaning it, to combining it with other course without cumbersome coding and scripting.
- Take advantage of always-on analytics. Gone are the days of being chained to a desktop. We live in an ultra-connected world and therefore demand access to critical information from any device. It’s not about having the right answer but also being at the right place, at the right time. Use analytics that empowers you to collaborate and take action instantly from wherever you are working, and from any device.
- Put your insights to work. Ad-hoc reports that aren’t integrated with business processes or the way you work are meaningless. As a business user, you need analytic tools that move at the speed of business. In order to do so, analytics must be embedded into all business processes, allowing you to take action in the context of your workflow.
As we head into a future defined by the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, data becomes the new currency for how we connect with customers. The role of the business user must expand to include data analytics in order to keep pace.
Interested in continuing the conversation? Join Saama and Stephanie Buscemi at Intuition 2016 on February 18th at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco. Along with other executives, industry luminaries, analysts and business leaders, we’ll be taking a look at key insights and trends in data and analytics. As a thank you for following our blog, enter code SOCIAL for a free pass!
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