Is your business set up to thrive in the data economy?

Adopting a “digital-first” approach to building, improving, linking and managing your business capabilities is key, says analyst and advisory firm MWD Advisors


When we talk about a data economy, it’s important to remember that this can only come about from businesses that seriously develop innovative new digital capabilities.

As consumers have gone digital in so many areas of their lives, so their expectations of digital engagement have been raised by the best “born-digital” products and services. New businesses such as taxi firms Uber and Lyft, accommodation co-ordinator Airbnb, and online freelance community Elance have taken advantage of digital capabilities to grab market share seemingly overnight.

At the heart of these businesses – and what’s clearly appealing to today’s increasingly discerning customer – lies their ability to deliver great customer experiences. They’ve been able to do this because they have worked out how to apply deep insights from customer and operational data, mined from digital operations.

This is hard enough for born-digital businesses. It’s much harder for most of us. Delivering a truly differentiated customer experience requires a seamless co-ordination across your business, using the power of digital data to drive the co-ordination of work, the creation and use of operational and management insights, and the sharing of knowledge. If you want your business to thrive in the digital age, you need to get serious about data.

Our industry research signposts three core areas of business activity that digital technologies have the power to reinvent. You can use digital technologies to:

  1. Better connect with customers and markets
  2. Reshape your operations and management systems
  3. Reinvent the products and services you deliver.

A digital strategy that seeks to define and bind together activities in each of these three areas is a good start, but unless your strategy also addresses the role of data to drive improvement and innovation, it’s not going to transform your business.

If you want your business to thrive in the digital age, you need to get serious about data

A basic digital strategy can show you how to deliver messages, content, products and services to customers more efficiently, but unless you focus on the role of data you will miss opportunities to personalise your offers, price dynamically, cross-sell or up-sell, discount and protect relationships, make faster, better decisions, or optimise information flows and ways of working – to do business better.

You now have the opportunity to capture data about customers, interactions, channels, products and service-use, business processes and knowledge-sharing. The result can be vast, varied and fast-moving datasets that are sourced from many places, and not all of them will be sources you own.

Of course, data by itself has no value; what has value are the actions you can take based on data. You’ll need a thorough understanding of your data’s provenance, quality and value. You’ll need policies for data governance, as well as strategies for selection, collection, cleaning, moving, storing, processing and acting upon this data. All these things will define how well your business is able to extract its digital advantage. How well placed are you?

3 ways to use digital technologies - MWDAt MWD Advisors we deliver independent research and advice that will help you learn about businesses already taking advantage of the data economy, the technologies they’re using and how they did it. We can equip you with the knowledge and insights you need to develop digital-first strategies – to prepare your business to thrive.

To find out more and download a complimentary report, visit http://www.mwdadvisors.com/data_economy/