Data has become a modern-day asset to organisations. Using analytics to take full advantage of data is becoming an increasing priority across every business sector.
Automation, machine learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence) – all based on the collection and analysis of data – are the buzz words stealing the headlines.
These technologies may well be commonplace for banks, insurance companies or tech giants. But what about the rest of us?
Does your organisation’s data strategy still rely on manual spreadsheets? If it does, you are not on your own. Deloitte research shows 96% of executives believe using the right tools to get the most out of data will become more important than ever over the next few years. Yet one in 10 businesses are yet to implement a big data strategy and less than a third regularly conduct big data projects, according to an MHR Analytics survey.
While many are still to embrace data analytics, there’s no denying that the race to adopt this technology is gathering speed. Choosing to advance your data journey is essential for competing as well as for achieving your organisational goals.
Evidence about the advantages of data maturity is widely available. In one example, a survey by MIT and IBM found that organisations with a high level of data maturity had 8% higher sales growth, 24% higher operating income and 58% higher sales per employee.
What are the first steps to progressing your data journey and climbing the data maturity scale? What in fact is data maturity?
“Data maturity is the extent to which an organisation utilises the data they produce,” said data maturity advocate Laura Timms, product strategy manager at MHR Analytics.
“An organisation that uses advanced business intelligence software to analyse its data can be considered far more mature than one that relies on spreadsheets for reporting,” she said.
“Data maturity is equipping data-driven organisations with insights that supercharge their own efforts, allowing them to break free from the limitations that would otherwise hold them back. Many leading companies understand this and are using their data not only to improve their core operations, but to launch entirely new and improved business models Many others however, are struggling to make sense of the hype and the excess of information about aspects of big data, and this is creating barriers to the business case for advancing the data journey.”
Advanced data maturity is creating an uneven playing field in many industries, with data-driven organisations stealing market share in some hyper-competitive markets.
The five stages of data maturity are:
STAGE 1 – Operational. Reporting is limited to tasks that are critical for business operations, with no formal BI (Business Intelligence) and analytics tools or standard in place to support this, and spreadsheets used as a primary means of reporting.
STAGE 2 – Descriptive. BI and analytics are in their early stages of implementation and are used to report on activity.
STAGE 3 – Planning. Using tools like scenario planning, BI and analytics are used not just to report on what’s happening, but to plan for the future.
STAGE 4 – Predictive. Data analytics is used to predict what will happen five, ten, even twenty years from now and to pinpoint the key drivers of trends.
STAGE 5 – Prescriptive. Users no longer have to input variables into the system to predict future outcomes. Instead, Machine Learning and AI make it possible to detect issues before they’re even considered.
A free tool providing downloadable data maturity guidance has been launched by MHR Analytics.
The MHR Analytics Data Maturity Quiz assesses where businesses are on the data journey and produces tailored, practical steps to progressing higher up the scale.
The tool also aims to demystify some of the jargon about data and provide a non-nonsense diagnosis.
6 STEPS FOR BUSINESSES TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE DATA COMPLIANT
By Alex Hazell, Acxiom UK head of legal
Data compliance can be a complex – and ever changing – consideration for marketers in all sectors.
And today, where a data-driven, personalised approach is the answer to create outstanding customer experiences that beat those of competitors – as well as a crucial governance consideration – it has never been more critical to understand data compliance, and get it right. This is particularly true in financial services, where neobanks and fintechs are using data-driven approaches to gain more and more ground in the sector.
GDPR, CCPA – understanding the acronyms and regulations that apply
With the volume of consumer data of all kinds growing exponentially, understanding how to use it effectively is critical to business performance; and a growing number of governance rules is in force to ensure legal, ethical and responsible use of personal data.
Ultimately these regulations are in place to compel organisations to review and improve how they collect, store and utilise personal data, and to place greater emphasis on ethical practice and individual rights.
For example, in the UK and the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in 2018 to accompany the e-Privacy Directive that sits alongside it, and is focused on protecting individuals from the unlawful and unfair use of their personal data. Note that the EU is in the process of replacing the current e-privacy Directive with the e-Privacy Regulation.
Equally, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) came into force as of January 2020 and is a state statute designed to enhance privacy rights and consumer protection for residents of California, USA.
Of course there are many other regulations to consider. For example, when in heavily regulated industries such as finance, firms may have a requirement to comply with other sector-specific regulations and codes such as FCRA, HIPAA, PCI – as well as CCPA or GDPR. Or, they may need to know how to manage sensitive or special category personal data which often requires a higher level of compliance.
And because of the breadth and complexity of these ever-evolving considerations – including, but not limited to eye-watering maximum level fines for non-compliance – data compliance can seem overwhelming. So, how can marketers truly understand what’s required, and stay on top of the rich tapestry of governance and regulations that applies to their organisation?
Six steps to ensure compliant customer data use
At a top level, data compliance requires marketers to take a transparent, considered approach to consumer data, based for the most part on providing varying degrees of notice and choice; for example, in the case of the GDPR, that may be via the consent or legitimate interest grounds.
With this in mind, and a focus on driving relevancy, value and impressive experiences, aimed to surprise and delight, both marketers and consumers can benefit from data compliance – it’s the ticket to better data driven experiences on all sides!
So how should data-driven marketers act to be certain of best practice data use, post GDPR and CCPA?
- Always put the consumer first. Consumer interests and customer value must always shape how marketers collect, use and protect data, to ensure trust, transparency and compliance.
- Work to communicate value. Keep data use balanced across the business, not just in marketing. Always orient toward driving consumer value – to demonstrate and explain the value return that consumers will achieve from a data exchange.
- Build trust through transparency. Clear, simple explanations are important to ensure understanding and build trust. So be open and transparent – data used for marketing is a far cry from personal data being used for other more intrusive purposes – and those doing the right thing have nothing to hide.
- Ensure responsible, balanced use of data. Organisations need to make sure it has clear internal policies around data ethics, privacy and work to ensure balanced data use everywhere, for true trust. Note that in the case of GDPR, firms need to be able to demonstrate accountability, and data protection impact assessments are often required to ensure the correct safeguards and balances are in place.
- Remove data silos. A fragmented tech stack with disparate data makes it hard to truly see what data a company has, where it is, and how compliant it is. Creating a unified data layer and removing silos is the best way to connect the data, ensure data accuracy and hygiene – and unlock seamless customer experiences through greater personalisation. This data combination also needs to be done in a compliant and ethical way.
- Prioritise data protection and compliance. Adhering to data privacy legislation is a ‘must-have’ consideration, not a ‘nice-to-have’. As such, it’s critical that marketers put in place a set of accountability measures to ensure responsible and compliant handling, whether they choose to do this alone, or with the guidance of a trusted data partner.
A compliant approach to consumer data and privacy is a critical part of any business strategy – not an optional one – so it’s important to have a roadmap to compliance for the business.
Of course, knowing how to assess, consider, and (where needed) adjust how an organisation hosts, manages and uses data to remain compliant can be a challenge. For this reason, many organisations choose to seek external expertise and advice, and understand the assistance and competitive advantage that a data partnership can provide.
Ultimately, from providing clarity over governance and legislation, to ensuring data processes and technologies are compliant, secure and futureproofed – working with a data partner can help organisations understand and navigate regulations to execute ethical, legal and responsible compliance for seamless, trusted marketing.
FIVE REASONS WHY YOUR BUSINESS’ PROCUREMENT TEAM SHOULD BE USING A CONTRACT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
By Daniel Ball, business development director at Wax Digital
Even in today’s digital-first environment some businesses are still storing documents, such as contracts, in filing cabinets making it labour intensive to retrieve, manage and even identify important paperwork. In fact, it is calculated that poor contract management practices are costing companies an average of nine percent of their annual revenues.
Moving to a contract management system online can speed up the retrieval process and help decrease the amount of time and resources required to manage contracts. Using a CMS companies can create an online database to centralise information and store documents. Not only does this help ensure contracts are well managed and kept up-to-date, but it can also help businesses save up to 20 percent of overall costs per year.
From legal departments overseeing regulation compliance to finance teams ensuring payment deadlines are met, contract management technology benefits many areas of an organisation. So, how can a good CMS help your procurement team?
How will a good CMS help your procurement team?
The number of suppliers your procurement team must oversee varies depending on the size of your business. It’s not uncommon for large enterprises to be working with thousands of suppliers at one time. A CMS will use automation to record, manage and streamline data, providing procurement teams with important contract details including time and location information, as well as real time alerts such as contract breaches.
Here are five reasons why your business should be using an online contract management platform:
- Increased spend visibility
Using a CMS can give procurement professionals full visibility of suppliers, including the company name and location of where a product is coming from and in what quantity. This transparency will also help contribute to the risk management strategy of your business as it enables you to spot vendors who may be prone to environmental, economic and political uncertainty. In the current environment, for example, suppliers’ may have decreased or ceased production due to COVID-19 or could have been heavily impacted by the negative price of oil, making visibility increasingly important for businesses.
- Eliminates maverick spend
Centralising and streamlining contract documents will ensure that buyers can instantly access up-to-date information to see if a contract already exists. This helps buyers avoid simple and common mistakes that often occur when using manual filing systems, such as onboarding new vendors when existing agreements are in place with another supplier.
- Keeps track of contract renewals
It’s easy to forget about contract renewals or sign up for another term without ending an existing agreement, especially when using a traditional filing system. Businesses using an online CMS can set up renewal alerts in advance, allowing buyers sufficient time to source new vendors or negotiate better prices.
- Improves spend management
A centralised database means that all negotiated prices, contract conditions and other important transactions can be accessed in one place, making it easier to analyse spend. A CMS can help identify discrepancies, find where contract violations have occurred and deal with any associated problems.
- Adhering to regulatory and legislative compliance
It’s important to ensure that all suppliers are meeting the terms of their contracts. A CMS will automatically audit supplier information, meaning that any failures are immediately raised to procurement teams. The platform will also provide notifications if any new data is required or updates need to be made, avoiding potential legal issues.
It’s clear that using an online CMS will benefit your business and procurement teams by increasing spend visibility, enabling access to up to date information, ensuring contracts are closely monitored while contributing to the reduction of unnecessary spend. So, now’s the time to stop relying on those dusty old filing cabinets and start using a CMS.
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