Data is essential to the smooth running of modern businesses.
It impacts all departments, from sales and marketing through to finance and HR. Enabling teams to understand their audience, communicate with their customers, and report on the success of their campaigns and activities.
However, disconnected data and legacy technology is costing businesses billions each year.
In this blog post, we will cover some of the common challenges that disconnected data can bring to businesses. And show you how to avoid them.
Problems with disconnected data
Let’s begin with some of the challenges that we have seen many businesses suffer with due to disconnected data.
1 – Monetary loss
When data is disconnected it can filter through to missed opportunities for sales teams.
Despite them having access to potentially masses of data, a lack of understanding of where the data came from, how old it is, how warm it is, and any associated activities can leave sales teams at a disadvantage. Particularly when trying to establish a relationship and build rapport.
And it isn’t just sales teams that feel the monetary impact of disconnected data. There are costs associated with the management and maintenance of confused, complicated data that can run into the thousands.
2 – Challenging data analysis
Data analysis will quickly become a headache for any department or senior member of a business who is trying to glean meaningful insights.
This can create significant barriers for decision-makers working on high-level strategy, all the way through to departmental executives who are simply trying to report on monthly results and activity.
With limited or disconnected data, any business will quickly struggle to analyse sales trends, how well departments are functioning, and identify the behaviours of their target audience.
3 – Poor external communication
External communication, for instance with a business’s wider audience, prospects, customers, and partners, heavily relies on data.
Data is essential for even the most basic forms of personalised communications. Never mind more advanced personalisation such as product recommendations or browse abandonment emails.
However, disconnected data can pose problems at an even more basic level. Poor data can lead to recipients being contacted when they are no longer a customer, with irrelevant information, or even with incorrect billing and invoices.
4 – Lack of innovation
Businesses, particularly those in the digital and retail space, are innovating at an increasingly rapid pace.
Any brand or business that doesn’t keep up with new trends will quickly be left behind. And find themselves fighting to maintain their current customer base.
Stagnation can easily occur in businesses when they struggle to identify and action new opportunities effectively.
Without insight into customer browsing and purchasing activity, businesses will struggle to identify the products and services that are in-demand, common pain points and blockers in the buying journey, and execute even simple personalised campaigns.
5 – Low productivity
Last but not least, disconnected data can be incredibly demotivating for a business. Especially if they are having to spend increasing amounts of time searching, cleaning, and verifying data before being able to use it.
This of course takes up time in an employee’s day. Instead of focusing on strategy, industry research, and experimentation, they are focused on repetitive and monotonous tasks which offer uninspiring results.
This can leave employees feeling that they cannot add any worth to the business or their own role. Quickly leading to demotivation and low productivity rates.
How to solve disconnected data
The best way to deal with data is to ensure it is well managed and integrated from the very start.
However, we appreciate for many businesses they are only just realising the importance their data holds. Or at least, the challenges that disconnected data brings.
To help you get on the right track with your data, here are our tried and tested suggestions.
1 – Work with an expert
To begin with, we would always recommend working with an expert on your data needs. This means that you can restart your data management and processes from a more positive place. Ensuring best practices from the very beginning.
2 – Understand your data
Whether you decide to work with an expert or not, your first step should be to gain a full, high-level view of your data.
This includes making a note of your current systems and usage, mapping all of your data flows from these systems, identifying any gaps in data, and understanding how different departments use this data.
From this point, you can begin building new and improved user journeys. Which can be used to create automated workflows specific to your business needs.
3 – Integrate your data sources
Once you have gained a full understanding of the state of your data, you can begin to connect your data sources to one another.
Integrating data sources enables businesses to feed data from one system or tool to another. Often with the aim to have a clear, master source of data that everyone can work from.
To achieve this, third party platforms are connected so that data can be imported, migrated, and synced.
Once this has been completed, businesses can then build out workflows and automations, and set up tracking, analytics, and reporting that all departments can utilise.
4 – Ensure regular training
One of the easiest ways for great data to turn into disconnected data is due to bad management.
That’s why it’s so important to ensure proper, regular training for all individual users of data.
If you have chosen to work with an expert, ensure that they offer training during the handover period and for new starters. This could be individual, group, or workshop training. And even incorporate training collateral, guides, and videos.
It is also important that the expert is available via multiple channels for ongoing support and to help you deal with any obstacles or changes to your data over time.
If you’d like to find out more about fixing your disconnected data, then book in for a free consultation call so we can understand your needs and guide you in the right direction.