Truly Data Driven: Practical applications of data (and do you need a data and analytics team?)
What makes a person, organization, or company truly data driven? This newsletter explores how data can be used to drive decision-making, action, and results. We’ll feature people, content, and resources centered around helping you become more data driven. Without further ado, here are the items we think you’ll find useful for this edition:
#1. Gartner: Top 10 Data and Analytics Trends for 2021
Gartner highlights the top data and analytics trends they’re seeing for 2021. Three to underline here include:
- Smarter, more responsible, scalable AI: Gartner believes that companies are depending more on AI systems, but that the challenge is to actually scale the technologies, including using fresher “small data,” especially when historical data becomes less relevant (e.g. in times like now).
- Data and analytics as a core business function: (You’ll see this thought repeated later in this newsletter). Digital business initiatives are critical, and leaders are realizing that data and analytics play a foundational role. This elevated role is leading companies to consider creating a core data and analytics function.
- Data and analytics at the edge: Data and analytics technologies will move closer to physical assets and locations to support the delivery of real-time value to customers.
I encourage you to read the article here to get the full context and the other seven trends.
#2. Why analytics is the ‘secret sauce’ of startup success
Via MIT Sloan, this article probes into how data and analytics are a key to success for several startups and how they use it to deliver significant value to their customers as part of their business models.
For example, Onduo, is a Type 2 diabetes management company offering wearable glucose monitors. Flywire is an international payments company that has data from billions of dollars in payments that it processes. Kinsa has developed an AI-based medical triage system to predict where flu, colds, and COVID-19 are spreading. Thrive is a fintech company that serves graduating students with short-term cash offerings, to bridge the gap between graduation and those first few months of employment.
The following quote echoes the importance of data and analytics as a core business function (even for startups) as highlighted in #1 above from Gartner:
“About one year in, it was decided that data and analytics needed to be a separate function, a top-level function that will provide value to end users, our buyers, and the business,” says Gino Korolev, VP of Solution at Onduo.
This article showcases the different ways these startups use data to provide value to customers, operate more efficiently, and deliver better financial returns. It is definitely worth a read.
#3. CDPs as the engine for growth: Case study and perspectives
This presentation and interactive session highlights how Brookdale Senior Living (with over 700 communities), uses a Customer Data Platform (CDP) to unify data from all of the tools in its martech stack (including homegrown technologies as well as technologies from acquired communities).
This has allowed them to get insights into the full customer journey, including the earliest interactions, which were previously harder to see. With this understanding, Brookdale has been able to develop a more seamless customer experience, deliver relevant content to different audiences, attribute leads more accurately, and optimize their approach to advertising.
The talk also features insights from Daniel Newman, Principal Analyst at Futurum Research, about how the martech stack (as well as the overall tech stack) will need to change to build in more agility and efficiency, as well as to get access to unified data.
#4. Leveraging product and data-driven thinking to enhance sales teams
In episode 43 of the podcast “go Beyond the Data,” host Dave Mathias, talks with Michel Guillet, a Sr. Product Manager for SalesLoft, which helps companies engage with customers, build pipeline, and close revenue.
This is a useful episode about how to get the right insights for a particular audience (in this case, salespeople) and how to deliver it in the right format and in the right quantity. This is a great lesson in making data and insights actionable.
#5. Data Is Great—But It’s Not a Replacement for Talking to Customers
Read it at Harvard Business Review. And last…this is a slightly contrarian article about the pitfalls of falling in love with your data. It provides some practical tips on how to not fall into misleading data traps and how to stay grounded in reality.
It includes nuggets like this:
“…their data was based on nonsense. This came about because the questions they’d been asking were built on managers’ perceptions of what clients needed to answer. They weren’t constructed on what clients wanted to express. This resulted in data that didn’t reflect clients’ real requirements. The list of priorities obtained via client interviews compared to management’s assumed client priorities coincided a mere 50 percent of the time.”
Editor’s note: This is Edition 1 of the Truly Data Driven newsletter, published biweekly on LinkedIn. Subscribe to the series here. If you have a tip on a great resource to include in a future edition of Truly Data Driven, drop a line to Tom Treanor!