Data-driven organisations are finding their insight creates new business opportunities and partnerships
“Data is going to be our future, and our customers see this,” the CIO of a global shipping services firm says. Industries such as shipping, retail, financial services and the public sector are increasingly seeing data shape the relationship they have with their partners and customers. To develop this relationship further, organisations need more than data, they are in fact selling insight.
“Insight has to be actionable,” says Adatis Commercial Director Martin Philpott. He adds that many organisations have data, but data becomes actionable insight when it allows the business to understand transactions or a business process for example. Insight has more value than data, as with insight the business, or its partner, can take action. That action may be a business opportunity, efficiency improvement or even regulatory protection.
Creating actionable insight requires a data estate that is modern and allows the organisation to share, interrogate and manipulate data to derive insight that will meet the needs of customers and team members. As a result, demand for insight will come from different areas of the business. “We often work closely with chief finance officers (CFO) as they see a lot of frustration that parts of the business come up against,” says Günter Richter, Adatis Head of Business Consulting. “Quite often the organisation sees a need for a robust strategy in order to create greater insight,” he adds.
Data and analytics industry research organisation, Dresner Advisory, found in its 2021 market analysis that organisations are looking to improve their insight into customers, as well as their business operations, in particular the move towards predictive maintenance, which in turn improves the service to customers and lowers the operational cost of doing business. “Use cases that gained year-over-year momentum include customer/social analysis and predictive maintenance,” said Jim Ericson, Vice President and Research Director at Dresner Advisory in a statement about the research.
Gaining actionable insight into customers and assets allows organisations to develop personalised products and services. In addition, greater insight improves the ecosystem that an organisation operates within. For example, delivering reliable insight into first-time fixes of asset failures, or satisfying the needs of a customer because you know your partners have kept their side of the bargain.
Value and decision making
Martin Philpott of Adatis says organisations can reach a point where their data guides decision making in the same way as Fitch Ratings or Moody’s provides financial analysis that stock market traders can estimate an organisations value. “Amazon for example, has a wealth of data on customer preferences, and that is then turned into an insight into how the customer will behave,” Philpott says of the rich data available to the senior leadership team of a business like Amazon.
Insight not only informs the organisation, Tim Kent, Adatis director says it accelerates how quickly a business can respond to its market. “We want to help our customers get access to the data and insight and make decisions more quickly.” Richter adds that with increased pace, insight-driven organisations are able to measure new products or services, and confidently make decisions on whether they have innovated, or failed fast.
A number of major organisations prove this point. A global locomotive and rail infrastructure manufacturer has become an insight-led organisation providing data-led analysis to the rail operators that acquire its vehicles. This service has led to a partnership where the locomotive manufacturer is able to measure the time the rolling stock is in use and is paid a bonus for that increased efficiency. “We realised that if we can improve the availability of rolling stock, then the operators get a measurable increase in the quality of service they offer,” the data leader of the rail vehicle manufacturer said.
In the shipping sector, a service provider is using its data to drive insights into the world’s ports and is then able to inform its customers of berth availability, as well as the full details of the port to help inform the ship operator or the end customer on whether to accelerate and take the berth and get products on dry land earlier. “With that transparency, we can then work with the customer on some real optimisation,” the shipping agency CIO says.
Opportunities and Protection
Richter at Adatis says insight-driven organisations have customer focus “embedded” into the business as a result of the knowledge they have available to them. Typically an insight-driven organisation has a relationship founded on trust with its customers. That trust is built on past performance – organisations that use their data to draw insights that benefit both the business and the customer will remain valued, whilst continuing to gain insight. A well-founded data strategy that ties to the business purpose is typically at the heart of organisations with strong insight. The role of the data strategy will increase in importance in the near future as a plethora of new data generating technologies and opportunities enter the organisation. 5G connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT) will provide new levels of granular detail about the customer or partner, but will also, potentially, strain the relationship of trust and, therefore, the ability to generate insight.
Insight will not only drive increased customer loyalty and sales, or lower the maintenance costs of the business, for some, actionable insight will be the difference to remaining a viable organisation or being on the wrong side of the regulators. Increasingly organisations are going to have to be able to prove they did everything in their powers to prevent an issue. For example, Martin Philpott of Adatis says, utility companies will be fined if they are unable to stop leaks or breakdowns in the service. Gaming, social network or media companies must spot problem behaviour and respond to protect the customer. Organisations that lack insight run a risk of reputational damage, liability or regulatory actions. Few businesses wish to carry this risk.
Analysts houses report that insight-driven organisations are pulling ahead of market rivals, selling their analytical capabilities, discovering new customer types and channels to reach them; working with new supplies and industry networks. None of this would have been possible without turning data into actionable insight.
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