Cash may have ruled everything around rap legend Biggie Smalls, but data rules everything around businesses in today’s digital world. Data fuels the best companies’ decision making processes by injecting quantifiable evidence into areas that were once limitedly governed by opinions and “gut feelings.”

In short, data helps today’s businesses make more consistently accurate decisions. How? Through the discovery of actionable insights. This phrase has quickly ascended through the ranks of digital marketing buzzwords to join the esteemed company of terms like customer experience, search engine optimization, mobile development and the like.

Actionable insights occur at the convergence point of data and action. In this discussion, we’ll look at key strategies to turn your big data into significant action and even more significant returns.

Discover How Your Customers Really Feel

Customer Satisfaction

Your customers and clients have more access to you, as a company than ever before. Social media, review sites, industry blogs, and many other sources all combine to create a ton of data-rich with insight into how your customers feel about your organization. The challenge, especially for large companies, is that combing through all of this customer-generated content and making any accurate conclusions by hand is bordering on impossible

The task becomes a lot more manageable, however, when you implement a text analytics tool to detect positive, negative and neutral customer sentiments. These data solutions scan volumes of raw text and pull snippets that it has identified as a user sentiment. Then, categorizes them based on their subject and the positive or negative intent.

As a business, this makes it fast and convenient to determine what people like and what they don’t want. Analyzing customer sentiments can provide actionable insights into how to improve your products (and make better ones in the future), enhance reputation and even create better content.

Detecting Early Warning Signs

Reputation Management

Brand reputation is critical for all businesses. In today’s always-connected world where news travels faster than Hermes in a Lamborghini, even a small, isolated incident can rapidly escalate into a full-blown crisis. Data can be pivotal in detecting the early warning signs of significant issues, which provides more time for a business to quickly and appropriately address the problem at hand and find a fast solution.

Some of the biggest corporate snafus (Firestorm Tires, Takata Brakes, etc.) could have been softened, maybe even avoided entirely, with careful monitoring of warranty claim data and consumer sentiments and then taking early action. Even a small product defect can be caught and corrected early on thanks to proper data monitoring, thereby saving brand reputation and lots of revenue.

Competitive Analysis

Competitor Analysis

Michael Corleone taught us the critical business (and life) lesson to keep our enemies closer. Thanks to data, corporate responsibility is not only easier to perform, but more powerful. It’s important to keep a close eye on your own data, mainly what people are saying about your company, brands, and products, but keeping an eye on the competition’s data is also beneficial. This type of data can be critical in understanding where you rank in the market, who your top competitors are and what edge you need to gain to become the top player.

Competitor data also allows you to identify areas where opposing companies are excelling or falling short. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the competition can open up big-win opportunities. By fostering understanding for what the customer is looking for and what they may not be getting from the competition, you can create an alternative that satisfies on these needs and capitalizes on the shortcomings of the competition.

Optimize Back Office Processes

Big Data

External data sources provide significant insight into customers and how to make better products, establish brand credibility and detect potential crises, but your company creates a lot of internal data as well, from sales, inventory, HR processes and other sources. Back office data solutions are becoming key to helping businesses manage and even automate these tasks to save time, reduce errors and allow human capital to be re-focused on more essential duties.

An inventory management solution, an example, helps automate the arduous tasks of tracking stock, ordering new products when that stock reaches a low threshold, highlighting the best and worst selling items and more. This saves a lot of time and helps protect against human errors that could produce costly issues and damage store credibility. After all, no one likes traveling to a store for a specific item, only to find out it’s unavailable!

A sophisticated inventory management solution can even use predictive analytics and sales data from past years to anticipate customer buying trends and order stock ahead of time to meet the impending increase in demand.


Data is a valuable business commodity, mainly when it is appropriately used to pave the way towards even more valuable action. It can be used to enhance your understanding of customer attitudes, gain an edge over the competition, detect warning signs of product defects, automate back-office tasks and so much more. Businesses should think critically about what data-oriented goals they have and then invest in software solutions to reach those objectives.