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Michael Lonnon and Doug McConchie from HSO

Transcript

Michael Lonnon

Welcome everyone to the HSO Dynamics matters podcast.

Your regular sonic dive into the world of Microsoft technology related matters and much more besides.

I’m your host Michael Lonnon, and today I’m joined by HSOs Head of Data & Analytics, Doug McConchie.

In last weeks edition with Microsoft retail expert Colm McCardle, he mentioned that data was one of the first and most important considerations when creating competitive advantage, and so I wanted to get HSOs data expert Doug on the show to shed some more light on why data is so important. And to highlight some of the key things to consider when looking to improve your management of this valuable asset.

So, grab a brew, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Michael Lonnon

Data first or analytics first?

Doug McConchie

Data first.

Michael Lonnon

Why would you say data first?

Doug McConchie

Data is where all of your insights and your value is going to come from, so you’ve got to actually make sure that the data coming in is accurate, clean, correct, robust, before you actually use it. Otherwise, you risk to just basically make all the wrong decisions because your data is wrong or partial or missing something.

Michael Lonnon

It’s the whole rubbish in rubbish out great, when it comes to data management. As such a broad topic can you me why is managing your data important to a business?

Doug McConchie

Managing data really gets back to the fundamentals, data is effectively an untapped asset in your organisation. People have been managing people, managing finance and been managing other resources in the organisation for many, many years and they haven’t really been thinking about data as a proper asset. they’ve just been developing creating data without necessarily putting in the actual sort of structures and the thought processes around it, which makes sure that it is of good quality, it is worth putting a little bit of effort into thinking about data management and the data sets.

Michael Lonnon

Do you think it should sit on the balance sheet as an asset – is there an argument for that?

Doug McConchie

There is an argument for that, and is probably, in many organisations, an aspiration. Some companies struggle, managing IP as an asset, let alone something is intangible as data but increasingly, I think as companies are getting more sophisticated, it will figure out more highly on balance sheets.

Michael Lonnon

How does managing your data well benefit a business?

Doug McConchie

Using it effectively and you will get better insights into what’s going on internally and externally but equally, you improve your decision-making processes. Those are probably the two main considerations. If you have a better handling on what’s going on internally you can be more efficient and effective, you will reduce costs and be more streamlined in the way you work. Externally bringing in data which sheds light on what’s happening externally with customers or in your suppliers will allow you to generate new revenue streams, new propositions, new ways of working together with your stakeholders and that will help you to keep pace of what you were doing, versus what your competitors are doing. It will also allow you to think about how you differentiate yourself in the marketplace, and how you succeed.

Michael Lonnon

Ok, I ask that question often, how does it benefit the business, but there’s obviously a benefit to the customer as well. In what way do you think that customers might benefit from the business improving their data management?

Doug McConchie

Every business is about focusing on and delivering benefit to customers so using data to track how well you are performing is fundamental. So are your internal processes working effectively in the delivery of value to your customers as you need visibility over that so you can fine tune your actions to make sure that you are continuously delivering as best value as you can to your customers. Equally by working with your customers to help them derive benefits from how you are operating so that they know how to interact with you in a better way, how to benefit from your services and products know how best to work together, and potentially you even sharing data sets between you and your customer, then you’re going to have a closer relationship and you will then have a better understanding of each other’s needs, and you’ll be able to work more effectively.

Michael Lonnon

Some businesses are managing their data better than others, so what do you see is the danger of not managing it well?

Doug McConchie

There’s multiple aspects to that first one is risk and risk at all different levels so a regulator or a statutory authority might come along and actually start fining you for mishandling the way you’re using data. Secondly, if you’re not managing your data, effectively, you’re missing out on a huge amount of opportunities. Businesses have a huge digital footprint and many data sets and sources and these have huge value and when you start then combining customer data with financial data and your activity data, you suddenly open up a whole raft of new insights, which are really valuable. So it’s a huge competitive advantage.,

Michael Lonnon

Organisations are beginning to understand that data has an intrinsic value and if they capture it and analyse it better, they will be able to change behaviours for the benefit of the business. If a company’s thinking that way now where should they begin in making better use of their data or managing their data better?

Doug McConchie

I think the first step is to understand your data sets and what you actually have. You will discover that you have far more data than you actually thought and then realise it is not being managed well and where the data is fundamentally important to your business. It’s one thing to discover it but another to then take it and start prioritising or categorising your datasets into value and importance to a business but once you’ve done that, you can then start also identifying data sets which are fully completely unexploited.  Organisations have quite a large amount of data in certain areas and some are not using it at all. It’s just been stored there as an untapped asset. So on the one hand, you’ll end up being able to prioritise your actions once you know more about your data, be able to say these ones are mission critical and help put in place some programmes of work to really work out how we can leverage these for commercial advantage.

Michael Lonnon

You and I both know that data is a valuable asset in helping shape an organisations commercial direction and engagement behaviour.

Yet still, Doug believes that data has yet to find its way onto the balance sheet of most companies. But as organisations mature, and perhaps see others using data to get ahead, this will become less of a case.

The first step to getting value from your data begins with understanding your data sets. Conduct an audit where you’ll likely discover you’re collecting more data than you actually need, and what you do have is not being managed very well.

This first step sounds pretty basic, but it’s the first and most critical step in ensuring you collect and manage data that is fit for purpose, and that your organisation can use to deliver valuable insight.

If you’d like to get more value from your data feel free to contact HSO, but for now thanks for listening, and enjoy the rest of your day.

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