Every day companies collect data from multiple sources like customers, vendors, or tax, legislative and other reporting bodies. In fact, by 2020 IBM estimates that 43 trillion gigabytes of data will be created. Businesses will need workers, robust processes and tools to manage and make that data actionable.
What is Data Management
Data management is all about how information is gathered, validated, stored and safeguarded and the ways in which it is used by companies to effectively support business decisions while maintaining customer confidence.
How Data Management Impacts the Customer
In general, data management practices and policies have an impact on the quality of customer experiences, services, and products, and how they businesses interact with their customers. Your company’s data quality, availability, security, and storage are all factors in a business’ ability to deliver on promises.
Data Management Challenges
Depending on your industry, data management can create varying obstacles and challenges. In the e-commerce space, Rahul Pruthi, Product Lead for omnichannel initiatives at BigCommerce website, says they encounter three big challenges.
Speaking the Right Language
Pruthi explains, “not all merchants have a single audience; in fact, most don’t. Often, merchants struggle to create a single website that addresses the individual needs of different audiences.”
Retrieving Relevant Customer Insights
In e-commerce, being able to tailor and personalize a customer’s experience is essential, and that requires having an understanding of the preferences of each audience. Data, even at an individual store level, can get noisy if not properly managed and evaluated.
Lack of Data Management Education
BigCommerce has seen an ongoing interest from merchants in being able to better manage and structure customer data so that they can use it effectively. “All too often, merchants don’t know where to start,” says Pruthi.
Data Security Concerns
The security of sensitive company and personal data is top of mind these days as customers are more concerned about their information and how and where it is being used. Companies are entrusted with sensitive personal and business information and want to know it is being handled with care and consideration. Companies should have data governance policies in place to safeguard customer information, mechanisms to mitigate risks, and action plans to respond to unauthorized data access, should they occur.
With e-commerce, in particular, personally identifiable information (PII) is a major concern, said Pruthi; and improper use of that customer information can cripple a brand. He suggests making sure that each layer of your e-commerce platform is secure to prevent unauthorized access and seek out a platform that offers site-wide HTTPs and DDoS mitigation to give customers a visual representation of site security efforts.
From a security perspective, neglecting to protect your customer’s PII can cause a loss of brand trust and, as a result, a sharp decline in conversion rates.
Having relevant data for decision-making support is key to success. Data for data sake serves no purpose. Companies should have a clear goal for the types of data they collect, process, and store. The data needs to directly support the business goals, instead of the business trying to make sense of disconnected data. All too often, companies store massive amounts of data that either never gets used or is used incorrectly in an effort to try to support business goals. This often results in bad data, leading to inaccurate decisions.
Pruthi explains when it comes to e-commerce, at its most basic level, each of the aforementioned challenges prevents a merchant from maximizing the success of their online store. Taken a level deeper, not understanding the specific shopping preferences of customers can lead to poor inventory management, inefficiencies in the supply chain, irrelevant marketing materials and website copy, and decreased customer retention.
Data Management Needs to Be a Priority
At the end of the day, making it clear that you prioritize your customer’s needs in all forms helps to ensure that they become loyal customers.
There are steps companies can take to ensure the data they collect, analyze, store, and share is used to effectively support the needs of customers. Churchill Frank, a leading big data, and analytics recruiter, shared with us their eight data management practices and policies on how to make the most of big data in your business, ultimately delivering better products, services and support to customers.
Companies need to ensure the right customer data is easily accessible for customers and that they give users the right information at the right time to help promote their own brand and drive business. “It should come as no surprise that accurate information fuels business success,” says Pruthi.