The world as it now calls for a whole host of innovative ways for businesses to take advantage of eCommerce in a bid to stand head over shoulders over the competition. This being the case, there are a number of things that the forward-looking business must invest in order to remain relevant in their chosen area of business. This area is to employ information to gain a competitive advantage over the rest of the competition.
Data is the new oil- this expression has never been truer, especially if you bear in mind the fact that practically all the current information in the world is in digital form. A key statistic states that for the years 2014 to 2016, thanks to digital devices, we were able to generate more information than for all the previous years combined since humans started recording their information. But for all this data to be of value, we must use it to gain information which will put us ahead of the curve.
Thus, the need for any enterprise is to invest in Business Intelligence, BI, by getting the necessary tools that will provide market insights that will, in turn, be of value to the business at hand. As such, the best investment that you can make for your firm going forward is to start collecting and analyzing all the customer data that you come across since the essence of predictive analytics is to go back to historical data in order to identify the patterns that will be of value.
Let us take a closer look at the benefits of using a market research tool to gain an advantage over the competition.
1. Cut Costs
Since the BI software is digital in nature, it is very easy for you to make the proper collation of reports as opposed to the former manual process. This means that you have digital files which are easy to consolidate and to use in tandem in order to find the relevant information which you will need for your specific purposes.
Thus, just from the perspective of saving money, investing in BI software is a smart decision for your enterprise but there are other benefits too. The myriad benefits include the automation of data collection and its aggregation for the benefits of the enterprise and the automation of report generation.
Additionally, the BI software will provide reporting design tools that make the entry of more reports not only much simpler but also more efficient as the information is captured in a format that will make it easy for future analysis. Finally, the software will go a long way in reducing the learning curve in the development and in the maintenance and archiving of reports.
2. Cut Bottlenecks
The previous model in which reports were generated by IT personnel was not only inefficient but often, the reports came out incomplete since the people who needed the reports in the first place did not have a direct role in choosing the specific data points that they required.
Using BI tools allows the end consumers of information to play a direct and pivotal role in determining the kinds of information that they require and in actually having a direct role in determining that information firsthand.
These systems are designed to democratize data across the organization and as such provide individual, permission-based user interfaces which allow for the collection of only the most critical data needed for an organization. The user has the ability to generate information on their own prompting and to analyze and validate it without involving folks from the IT department.
3. Actionable Insights
The real value of data is for it to be used to create actionable information and insights that will be useful in adding value to the enterprise as a whole. The issue is that data must be handled only as is needed. Too much of it, too little of it or if it is outdated means that it will not provide the value that it is supposed to provide to the firm.
The whole purpose of using data is to create reports that can be fully grasped by all the actors across the enterprise. This means that the generated reports must contain visualizations that show the core issues in all clarity for everyone to understand and thus be on the same page.
These platforms have a variety of ways in which they can provide actionable information and some of these ways include unified views of information, real-time reporting, autonomous search and designing of reports, contextualizing data, collaboration tools and intuitive visualizations that make the data easier to digest.
4. Predictive Analysis
In the days gone by when information was gathered and stored in textual form and in files form, there was nary any way of collating and combining this data to come up with actionable insight that could be used to identify the underlying relationships between variables. The structure was static, fixed and predefined and it was often only useful for historical reasons.
But thanks to information being collected in digital format, there are a lot of creative things which can be done to the data in order to make sure that it yields patterns and hidden relationships. These systems provide ad-hoc search capabilities which can be conducted on the fly in order to gain depth of understanding on the underlying information contained therein.
With the advent of machine learning in data management, there are special algorithms which can be employed to determine the relationships which govern the data. These forms of data mining techniques usually conduct an in-depth analysis of the data and in the process; they perform cluster analysis and rule induction.
Therefore, the future of any business is to invest in market research tools and BI software in order to have all the information that they need at their fingertips, when they need it, and how they need it in order to use it to gain a competitive advantage over the competition.
This article is written by Sujain Thomas. She is a specialist digital marketer who has designed and brought to market the market research tool called Algopix that is ideally suited for SMBs. She has been in the software development industry for the past 28 years.