I recently had dinner with an executive from a leading telco company that gathers 120,000 customer survey responses every day, and she admitted her organisation barely knows what to do with that volume of business data. Her dilemma seems to sum up what is a common experience for a lot of companies - the more information they gather, the less able they are to deal with it.

Many organisations I work with gather customer feedback routinely and there are ever more sophisticated automated tools to help with that task. It also seems to be the case that the more ‘bleeding edge’ the business, the more data it generates. A company that builds ‘connected cars’ told me it collects about 18 gigabytes per car, per year, ranging from technical details about vehicle health, to information about how and where the car is driven. This data is hugely valuable to the manufacturer, but its potential can only be unlocked by extracting insights that guide strategy and decision-making.

In my experience, it’s this process of turning data into insights that creates frustration in the majority of organisations, particularly when they have a traditional structure. Often, the problem is getting different departments within the company to talk to each other effectively. An IT department is usually involved in the mechanics of collecting data and it pushes the value of its systems, but frequently lacks the skills to turn information into insight. The marketing department has insight, but lacks technical know-how. If they can come together and agree on shared goals, they stand a chance of lifting insights out from the mass of data they hold.

Making the most of your business data

So how do companies get great insights from their business data?  I find many are smaller organisations, where departments communicate together well. The business’s entire culture is often focused on getting value from a better customer experience. 

Some of the most effective organisations I work with use the Net Promoter Score system (NPS), not just as a survey method but as a ‘way of life’. The whole company is devoted to bettering its NPS score, which measures customer satisfaction, and finding new insights in the data it collects.  Every employee, branch or region wants to solve problems themselves, locally, developing their own ideas and anticipating things that annoy customers. It’s a fantastic way of crowdsourcing insights from your richest resource - your people.  

Organisations with customer contact centres are particularly well-placed to crowdsource expertise, because every customer adviser is a potential source of new ideas and insight.

Three ways to turn business data into insights

If you asked me the three key things you can to do to successfully turn your information into insights, I’d say focus on some key objectives you want to achieve or questions you want your data to answer, give the data back to your people to crowdsource ideas, and break down silos between departments, particularly with IT.

I find that data, in its raw form, generates little insight into how a customer experiences a product or service. It takes a human touch to turn it into the useful insights that help us learn and grow a business. With the right partner, cloud-based data can be analysed immediately, and it won’t break the bank. Outsourcing can provide the technical skills and analytics expertise to help your business turn its data into insights right now.   

Key takeaways

Organisations need the human touch to turn business data into useful insights to grow their businesses.

Break down silos within your organisation to gain the best insights from your data.

Give the data back to your people, in order to crowdsource the task of finding insights.

Make NPS a ‘way of life’ in your organisation and get value from a better customer experience.

Consider cloud-based analytics, to save time and money on gaining insights from your business data.

Accelerating a customer experience culture – Data-driven agility

Business data, data analytics, cloud, Organisation 3.0