Big data – don’t believe the hype
Big data is arguably the corporate buzzwords of the last 2 years, with companies increasingly feeling the pressure to analyse and understand every piece of data they have.
The industry is full of deafening noise suggesting that if your business is without encyclopaedic knowledge of your customers, your site users, user journeys, your products, the market, and the interaction between all of these moving parts, you are throwing your profits down the drain. To fully unlock your business potential you must have access to vast data sets covering every possible particle of information relating to your company or website, customer behaviour, and market trends. Only then can you be equipped with the necessary insight to run a successful, profitable business. With so much potential insight to hand, it can be a massive challenge to know what to prioritise, and how to allocate your financial and human resource to capitalise on all the possibility. Sound familiar?
Breathe. It’s time for a big data detox. To really get the most from your insight it’s important to close out the noise of the endless possibility and focus.
Not because data insight isn’t essential, or that making effective use of it to inform your strategy isn’t intrinsic to the success or failure of your company. It is simply that we believe that organisations should focus on understanding the data that offers practical insight and helps with smarter decision making.
Trading Big Data for Fast Data
There may be some who argue that collecting and computationally analysing absolutely everything is the best way to maximise your business’s potential. Indeed, with limitless budgets and a huge headcount, you may well be able to find a money-spinning needle in the haystack. But the reality for most businesses is that there is a limited amount of valuable staff-time to go around. Spending this finite resource reconciling, reviewing and disseminating data (not to mention tens, or hundreds of thousands of pounds), is not always wise if that information, while interesting, doesn’t actually help you to make smarter decisions.
Despite this, with big-data being mentioned in conferences across the globe, record amounts are being invested in data platforms and next-generation analytics suites by businesses without them first thinking strategically about how the data they collect can be best deployed.
For digital businesses generating some, or all, of their revenue via affiliate deals it can be challenging to get the insights that will really supercharge their strategy as it necessary to match the marketing data, to on-site data, to revenue / sales data. In order to do this, a large percentage of the industry still relies on spreadsheets and manual reporting to optimise marketing. Numerous publisher sites, small and large, are using readability metrics alone to review content – with little understanding of transactional value of each page. What’s more, in an online world, decisions about site optimisation are often made using click outs and assumptions.
This difficulty of cutting through the noise is one of the reasons we built Fullsight. As a digital business ourselves, we were drowning in a sea of user data, market data, site interaction data, sales data and more. About two years ago we took the decision to focus on what really makes the wheels spin – namely understanding what activities actually help users and drive sales. By knowing this, we could focus our efforts, deliver better experiences to people on site and grow our commercial outputs. Fullsight helped us do that and, we firmly believe, it can help others do the same.
The businesses that will thrive in the era of big-data will not be those that spend the most on the shiniest analytics systems, or those that dedicated hours to delving into insights, the winners will be those that truly focus on understanding what data is truly important to their businesses and making sure this is easily, quickly available to inform future decision making.