Apart from its employees, one of a company’s most important assets is its information. In this technological age, information is nowhere more prevalent than it is online. With the vast availability of information, a business can greatly set itself apart from its competition by how well it finds data and uses it to create knowledge. Open Source Intelligence and big data are the most common sources of data leveraged and discussed in the world of business.
Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) refers to free and unclassified information. Marc Demarest, a principal in Noumenal, Inc., an international management consulting firm explains-
“For most commercial purposes, open source intelligence should allow companies to frame up strategies and tactics, make informed choices, and generally avoid recapitulating the mistakes of competitors and fellow travelers.”
Big data, on the other hand, refers to a large volume of data that can be utilized to identify trends and track behavior. Here are couple ways that data (including OSINT and big data) can be used to improve business.
Customer care often depends heavily on person-to-person interaction to keep customers happy. But in recent years, more and more companies are leveraging data to improve customer care and address potential issues before they even arise. Data can, for example, help companies win customers back through tailored marketing campaigns and follow-ups. Kristen House, a mobile product manager at Paytronix Systems, has recognized that win-back promotions often have a positive ROI.
Jill Soley, marketing Vice President at Freshdesk, a provider of online customer support and help desk software, trusts that data can help businesses discover problems that companies may not even be aware of. She explains-
“For example, one customer of ours that ships wine domestically discovered through their help desk reports that there had been a disproportionate number of errors, where the wrong bottles had been shipped to several customers. By providing additional training to their quality control team, they were able to [reduce errors] and make their customers happier.”
Data can also help companies win customers back through tailored marketing campaigns and follow-ups.
On the topic of customers- a business can often monitor its performance by understanding when and what customers respond or react to. Social media, for example, can be utilized to gather data and understand what customers are saying. Processes can be adjusted, operations can be approved and the business can respond best when there is enough data to show why a red flag could be waving. Troy Ruemping, a senior associate at Point B a management-consulting firm, says-
“The challenge is to blend data that is sufficiently aggregated to identify reliable patterns (rather than outliers) with data that is sufficiently localized to identify the culprits.”
If data is organized properly, a company can use the findings to ensure company standards are always being met.
The old saying “knowledge is power” is true nowhere more than in business. Having the right tools to collect, organize and ultimately understand the huge amount of data out there is a vital aspect of any successful business in the modern world.