Businesses that collect data ‘perform better’

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For all the buzz around the potentially game-changing impact of big data analysis on the business world, the hyperbole has not always been matched up with a coherent, clear-eyed examination of the tangible benefits this process can offer.

Addressing this deficit was one of the aims of business innovation charity Nesta when releasing its latest report, entitled Inside the Datavores.

Its study revealed that companies that collect, analyse and deploy customer data become eight per cent more productive as a result, meaning some degree of investment in this area is clearly justified.

Businesses that perform deeper analyses of their data see a boost in profits of £3,180 per employee, Nesta revealed.

Furthermore, it is crucial that this information is spread throughout the company rather than simply left as the preserve of marketers or tech experts, as organisations that empower workers to act on the data they gather benefit four times as much as those which do not.

Nesta highlighted a number of ways in which the data market is evolving and maturing. Real-time analysis is becoming more common, while variety is also increasing – firms are dealing with many different kinds of information about sales processes and consumers.

“As a result, data has passed from being a modest and oft-discarded by-product of firms’ operations to become an active resource with the potential to increase firm performance and economic growth through ‘data-driven decision making’, and data-driven goods and services,” the study suggested.

The Nesta paper analysed the performance of 500 medium-sized British firms to reach its conclusion, which appears to largely back up the claims made by business analysts across the globe in support of big data analysis.

While it is undeniably vital for firms to have the right staff in place to cope with this influx of information and turn it into actionable guidance when it comes to marketing or targeting consumers, technology can also help with managing the flow of data.

For instance, CRM software can ensure that some of this process is automated, reducing the strain when it comes to hiring analytics or administrative staff.