Data can be confusing to businesses that do not feel they need it

Whilst more and more businesses are unfreezing their Data projects and hiring teams, other companies remain stuck in their ways and are still denying their need to prioritise data within their business. Who is doing this and what are the long-term impacts it will have on them?

It may seem really obvious but those from the old school who prefer tangible products are usually the ones holding back from taking the leap into a datacentric future. That is the case, even though a recent Deloitte survey found that 49% of those surveyed boasted that data helped them make better business decisions. It is clear that if you are on the outside, you do not know what a difference it makes. The Bank of England surveyed banks and found that while around 50% predicted increases in Machine Learning and Data Science in operations in the future, just one third had DS or ML projects planned. It just does not make business sense.

Data’s role in the modern business is to help those leading the business to make informed decisions not so much based on gut instinct or guesswork but based on statistics or facts. We concede that someone thinking for the first time about how data can improve their profits may get a headache and may back away from the decision, unsure about which direction to take and fearful of wasting resources on it. Strategy is important and taking the wrong route is as foolish as not starting in the first place. How does one cut through the nonsense and begin building their datacentric future?

Firstly, it is understandable that a business with limited cash should hold off. This is wise, but ‘holding off’ does not mean ‘doing nothing’. These companies should be researching, seeking advice and contacting those with expertise in the field of building Data teams. There is a belief out there that small and medium businesses would not benefit from data but this simply is not true. Used correctly, these types of companies can use data to find new customers, increase retention, anticipate trends and manage social media better.

Those who do have the means to invest, should make inroads to do so as soon as possible. Data used in this way is unlikely to be a short-term proposition and, when in place, it will weave within your business, becoming an integral part, aiding in smoother running and growth into the future. The investment amount may seem scary but when the long-term investment may mean the future of your business, the reasoning becomes more obvious. The problem is that companies have yet to reach the point where they understand that their competitors possess the foresight they do not.

The big question is: “At what point do you wake up and ask if this is really ‘critical’ to your business?” Is it now or is it when it is too late? Would you treat any other part of your business the same way that you treat data? Imagine your competition starts outselling you. You find out that they are using data science to sift through their customer information and it has helped them predict sales trends in a way that you could not. At this point, you choose to invest, out of desperation. You spend the money and take months frantically trying to hire the correct team. Finally, the project comes online and you feel you are now on a level playing field with your competitor. The thing you did not anticipate was that in those months you were taking to get to their level, they had another project, which is ready to roll out tomorrow. You are now in a constant game of ‘catch-up’.

The point we are making is that if you are in a position to take data seriously, do it. Waiting around and being afraid are not going to benefit your business in the long-run. Expertise is out there if you need it. We understand that getting those first candidates is daunting but the first step is asking for help and then taking steps to build a team, build a partnership and build your future.

Curious about how Zenshin Talent can help your organisation? Contact us today for a no-strings conversation about your needs and our experience.