from our leaders

Data and Your Competitive Edge

Data and Your Competitive Edge
Published: 06 July 2018

“You must have come across the term ‘the value of data’ at least ten times in the last month,” says Wayne Borcher, COO of data specialist SSA. “But many organisations are led to believe that all data they can collect is valuable. This just isn’t so.”

There is no question that data is valuable to companies – but if you’re not sure about what data to collect and how to unlock its value, as well as and what it could mean to your company, you may have reason to still be hesitant about your digitisation journey.

“The real value of data,” says Borcher, “lies in how you collate the data and what you use it for. Essentially, connecting with clients on a personal level and seeking client patterns in your data analysis are key elements in business growth and finding new opportunities for areas of business you may not have considered before,” Borcher says.

Competitive advantage drives business growth and the effective use of data drives competitive advantage, Borcher believes, adding that in late 2017, the International Institute for Analytics predicted that by 2020, businesses using data will see US$430-billion in productivity benefits over competitors who are not using data.

“These are massive numbers,” he asserts, “and companies wanting to compete at this level need a clear and robust data strategy, as well as analysts who can separate the wheat from the chaff.” He notes that the term “big data” has led many companies to collect massive amounts of data, much of which may be irrelevant and merely take up time and space.

Getting the data blueprint right

In order to use data strategically, your governance and data teams must determine which data is best for your specific organisation and industry, Borcher says. “No two organisations will have the same data requirements, and ensuring your data marries up with your business imperatives is vital to success.

“It starts with identifying what you want to achieve with your data, and then implementing the systems and technology that will bring the best insights for your purposes,” he says.

The analysis of the data will determine the insights that can grow your business operations and give you an edge on competitors but enabling a better customer experience through speedier decisions making and supplying of services and goods.

“At SSA, we remind our clients that company-wide buy-in is crucial to success and some training will likely be required for current personnel. Data analysis may require employing a specialist, or using a company that provides professional analytics as a service,” says Borcher.

“Given the growth of threats and data breaches we have seen recently and will probably continue to see, it is also important that we highlight that an organisations data blueprint make provision for a robust collation and storage plan, particularly with regard to personal data.

“The question of data ownership as well as privacy, security and all regulations affecting data be taken into account to ensure the data that gives you the competitive edge doesn’t become the data that becomes the nemesis of your reputation,” Borcher warns.