“We’ve learned that the adage “In God we trust, everyone else brings data to the table” fully applies during a transformation.” – Four Ways to Lead a Successful Transformation, The Harvard Business Review
Companies are constantly being challenged to innovate and transform the way that they do business. The goal line for growth always moves forward; leaders must reimagine their businesses, from streamlining operations to breaking into new markets. How do successful leaders find the inspiration for change, and validate their ideas before investing financial and human resources?
Companies have an important asset that can drive change and support smart decision making: access to an unprecedented level of data. When looking at enterprise transformations, not all data is created equal. Leaders have to understand how to prioritize the information needed to support their most important strategic objectives. Here is a closer look at how to develop a focused market intelligence program to help your business achieve its growth and transformation goals.
The actual process of enterprise transformation is messy. Day-to-day challenges like politics, conflicting agendas, and institutional inertia come into play. Smart managers can make bad decisions that cost companies critical resources. However, the right data helps leaders navigate major decisions and implementation challenges.
In today’s environment of big data and information overwhelm, choosing the right sources of market information is essential for performance, data-driven decisions, and smart strategy. Understanding the role of market intelligence and data integration can help guide the strategy deployment behind enterprise transformation. An important part of this process is understanding the relationship between growth and data.
When companies think about growth, it often occurs at one of three levels. Incremental improvements represent smaller performance-related improvements to existing processes and capabilities. Step improvements focus on end-to-end business process or system upgrades. Finally, enterprise transformations are a fundamental shift in business direction, operations, or strategy.
The information needed to support each type of growth is profoundly different. Enterprise transformations are often the most challenging changes to undertake; they influence everything from day-to-day operations to the talent needed to make the vision a reality. Data must be culled from a variety of sources, from customer information to secondary market reports, and integrated to produce applied insights.
According to one recent study, 90% of business leaders who undertook a big data initiative were satisfied with the results. However, achieving these results requires a singular focus on strategic objectives. Businesses today can quantify nearly every aspect of their operations. It’s easy to gather a complete picture of buying behavior, website analytics, mobile usage, social media activity, employee productivity, and much more. The bigger challenge is narrowing the focus to a lean, specific body of information that’s relevant right now to a specific problem. Business leaders need to answer an essential question: what is the most important data vis-à-vis their most urgent or important strategy challenge?
Leaders must make the shift from data to data-driven decisions. Insights need to be turned into action. Implementing a strategic market intelligence program requires that you:
Define your strategic goals: It’s possible to gather information on nearly every aspect of your business. Start your big data and market intelligence programs by narrowing your focus to one core challenge. What business outcome are you trying to achieve? What information is essential to achieving that goal? Examples might be understanding brand positioning or evaluating the potential of new markets.
Use information to fill gaps: Once you’re clear on what you’re trying to achieve, it’s important to determine where the gaps are in your understanding. What assumptions do you need to test? What information is a complete unknown? Determining these needs will help you map information gaps to available data sources.
Set targets for ROI: Justifying an investment in a market research project or ongoing data initiative requires an understanding of the ROI it will generate. What are your objectives for the research? For example, if your goal is to identify a new market that could yield millions in new revenue, it’s possible to put expenditures on research and data into perspective.
Understand your ongoing data needs: The relationship between enterprise transformation and data collection evolves. Management teams need one set of data to begin the process; and then require ongoing feedback loops to successfully steer the ship over time. Understand what your ongoing data needs are likely to look like and embed those into your project timeline and priorities. Integrating data into your project execution and management will ensure that critical decisions remain tied to the numbers.
Managers need data to make big decisions and to formulate successful strategy implementation plans. They can do this by developing a laser focus behind enterprise transformations, mapping data sources to their most urgent strategic priorities, and looking for ways to integrate data on an ongoing basis. Strategic market intelligence programs can be your secret weapon to leading successful enterprise transformations within your business.
Are you ready to explore how strategic market intelligence programs can drive enterprise transformations for your business? Contact Incito Consulting today to learn more about how our consulting services can help your company navigate your most important strategic challenges.