Eugene Khazin

Principal and Co-Founder, Prime TSR

These days, no matter what your industry is, you know you need a data innovation strategy to grow. Not only does data increase your sales, improve your customer experience and reduce your operating expenses, it also provides incredible insight that companies like yours would never have dreamed possible in the past.

But the best thing about the age of data isn’t that there’s so much of it available, it’s that, when you figure out how to harness it for your own uses, you can use it to test and refine your offerings and business models quickly, so you can learn as fast as possible how to create an innovation strategy that puts you ahead of the competition.

Why a data-driven innovation strategy is important

When business leaders hear the word innovation, they tend to think of disruptive products unleashed on the market to destroy the competition. Rarely do they realize that innovation isn’t just for CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies, it’s also for internal business use.

Data-driven innovation done right provides just the right intelligence at just the right time to just the right people, combining ability and agility into a seamless whole that drives your business forward.

However, many companies may balk at the cost and time it takes to develop disruptive new products. Luckily for them, harnessing an innovative solution doesn’t have to mean creating new products or services. It can also mean that you intelligently configure your data and analytics capabilities so you can take advantage of everyone else’s new products.

Indeed, these days there are new options being created all the time for mHealth, FinTech, and InsureTech, each of which can enhance your organization’s capabilities and can provide you with even more usable data that helps you further streamline your business processes for greater speed and efficiency. All you need is insight into usage patterns, feedback or sentiment, and bottlenecks so you can use that data to improve faster than your competitors.

How to create a data-driven innovation strategy in your company

As you well know by this point, data alone won’t win you the business race. It’s much like money. If your company started making a billion dollars a month but you never reinvested any of that money back into the business, none of that cash would make you more competitive. Similarly, gathering data for the sake of having data doesn’t get your company very far: you need to be able to reinvest data back into your organization in order to grow.

To do that effectively, you’ll need to perform two critical actions:

  1. Create a Data-Driven Culture

Currently, your various systems and applications collect a lot of data for you, but it’s likely that very little of your staff knows how to leverage that data to get necessary insight. Creating a data-driven culture isn’t difficult, but it takes a shift in the way you provide access to data, clean the data, and view structured and unstructured data.

The point of a data-driven culture is to have open data access with little data cleaning so that employees can see the big picture at all times. In addition, you need to be able to efficiently use all the data you have so that you end up with as few data gaps as possible.

  1. Test/Revise Incessantly to Ensure Adaptive Innovation

Collecting and looking at data only goes so far. In order to stay ahead of your competitors, you’ll also need to take action with your data. And once you’ve taken action, you need to continuously improve your innovative solution so you can remain on the cutting edge.

Savvy companies create a culture of continuous improvement by leveraging the OODA Loop methodology and businesses can now also take advantage of widely available and highly affordable machine learning tools, such as MLaaS (machine learning as a service), on-chip, and in-server solutions that ship standard with much of today’s leading hardware.

Get Data-Driven Innovation at Your Company

If you imagine the race for more market share as a car race, you can consider data to be the fuel for your business. However, Formula One racing (and your business success) takes more than having the largest fuel tank. It also takes a powerful engine.

The way you use your collected data can be considered your horsepower. True data-driven companies do more than compile numbers and statistics, they also effectively extract and access the information they’ve gathered so they can come up with creative, innovative ways to address old problems.

To continue the racing metaphor we’re using, the way that you access your data can be seen as your gas pedal – and your company can go faster and further than ever before if you have the correct setup for collecting, compiling, accessing, filtering, and understanding your data.