Many companies are figuring out that to gain a competitive advantage these days, harnessing the Big Data they have accumulated and making it accessible to the right people with the right strategy is key.
“In the future, the real value of an organization will not necessarily lie in the products it sells, but rather in the data it collects,” says Dawn Edmiston, clinical associate professor of marketing at the Mason School of Business of The College of William & Mary. “So companies need to work to align sales and marketing to ensure that they understand the value of capturing such data and leveraging that data to deliver a truly omnichannel customer experience.” That realization is fueling a boom in spending on infrastructure, cloudbased solutions, training and talent that’s changing how the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) describes some marketing occupations.
Here are six ways that you can make sure that Big Data is being implemented and used correctly at your organization:
- Get buy-in from IT – It’s essential to get buy-in from IT and then empower them to reorganize how the organization collects, stores and governs access to data to ensure it’s accessible across the enterprise.
- Commit to creating a sharing culture – Develop an organizational culture that promotes the sharing of data. Data analysts want to work in an organization that recognizes the value of their efforts across the enterprise, and sales executives want to work in an organization where they have access to data that will support their success.
- Anticipate disruption – Implementing a sharing culture is likely to ruffle some feathers given people’s tendency to hoard information. It also has the potential to create jurisdictional tensions between sales and marketing. Make sure your sales and marketing teams sit down with your IT lead to map out who will do what and how they’ll share business intelligence to avoid duplication of effort.
- Tinker – Most cloud-based analytics vendors offer free trial subscriptions and an abundance of online training. Ask your resident Excel gurus to sign up for a few and begin learning about what’s out there, what it can do and how much it costs.
- Recruit for the future – Regardless of where your company is with analytics, sales and marketing managers should expand their talent search to candidates with strong backgrounds in math, statistics and business analysis.
- Be ready to invest – For sales and marketing departments, harnessing Big Data is not about cutting costs through automation. It’s about making substantial investments in people and technology in a bid to keep up with or overtake the competition. It requires hiring analysts who can pull and organize data, write or use programs to analyze the data and create graphics to visualize the data so it can be shared. These analysts typically have backgrounds in mathematics, statistics and computer programming and they don’t come cheap. There also is the cost of training sales reps and other front-line employees on how to use whatever tools you deploy.
This is an excerpt from the article In Perfect Harmony – Making The Big Data Advantage Work by Charles Lunan which appears in the new May/June 2017 issue of Connect magazine published by NextPage, which can be found online here. If you would like a free print subscription to Connect, please click here.