How to Build Data Driven Growth and Resilience

Dun & Bradstreet recently hosted a panel event on the topic of How Data Driven Strategies Can Build Resilience and Drive Growth. Moderated by Louise Maynard-Atem, (Deputy Director, Data & Insights at the Government Digital Service), the panel represented expertise and insights from a range of industry sectors and featured Dan Taylor (Senior Director Marketing Data, Sage), Dean Murphy, (Sales and Marketing Solutions, Dun & Bradstreet), and Karla Wentworth (COO, Intermedia Global).

It was a fascinating afternoon with a lively exchange of discussion, insights, opinions and information. Pooled together, the key takeaways from the event offer a viable version of best practice for building data-driven resilience and stimulating sustainable growth across a wide range of sectors. That includes operational resilience that will allow organisations to adapt more readily to market change, cultural resilience that will help them absorb and implement data-driven insights more effectively, and resilience in respect of customer retention and growth as a key asset in competitive and uncertain times.

We summarise those takeaways here with 4 “top tips” on how to get data working for growth and resilience in your own organisation:

1. START WITH THE PEOPLE: Our panel of experts agreed: the first consideration for any data-driven solution you implement should be the people who are going to use it. Adoption is crucial for the success of any technology initiative. That means you need to consider your culture, think about the way colleagues feel about the solutions they’re currently using, and take time to bring people onboard by creating a wide network of stakeholders who buy in to the concept of change rather than having it imposed upon them. It’s a priority endorsed by other commentators too. In a recent article, Forbes pointed out that 70% of digital transformation initiatives fail to achieve their goals. A key reason? The tendency to think about technology acquisition rather than technology adoption. The good news is, engaging employees can be a relatively straightforward process. Call a meeting. Ask for opinions. Focus on benefits. Ask for feedback after a solution rolls out. Put simply, keep communicating!

2. DEFINE THE GOALS: The next priority identified by our experts was being crystal clear on what you are trying to achieve when you make a new technology investment. Technology itself is no longer a differentiator: a recent study evaluating the state of marketing technology found there were 9,932 martech solutions in 2022 with the number of these tools growing constantly throughout the last decade, starting off at just 150 in 2011 (SOURCE: Statista). Those solutions are available equally to you and your competitors ─ so there’s a strong likelihood that you will all be using at least some of the same (or very similar) tools! Similarly, the burgeoning volume of data generated by this proliferation of software is not a differentiator either. In fact, many organisations are swimming in more data than they could ever use! The only thing that will set you apart and give you an edge is common goals that constitute a shared purpose: an understanding of what you want to achieve as an organisation — and how technology and data will help you get there.

Leave room for intuition, trust your gut, and be grateful when you find something you didn’t expect!”
Karla Wentworth (COO, Intermedia Global).

3. TRUST THE PROCESS: We are all familiar with the challenges represented by inconsistent, inaccurate and generally “messy” data which is spread randomly across departments or isolated in disparate silos. Our experts listened to experiences shared at the event and emphasised the need for putting a considered data governance process in place which includes measurement and feedback loops so that data remains clean, relevant and usable for the organisation. Undertaking this work also addresses the prickly issues of security and compliance ─ increasingly important as regulators on both side of The Pond crack down on companies that hold personal data, with potential penalties of up to 5% of global annual turnover for data security breaches. A good data governance process can be underpinned with a management platform which will help users collaborate on projects , visualise, monitor and benchmark data, as well as assess overall data health.


4. BE PATIENT: According to McKinsey, by 2025 data will be embedded into every decision, interaction, and process for most companies. While this may be true, the experiences shared during our panel event suggest that a degree of patience will be required as companies continue on their individual data journeys. Data science is rarely exact. It’s probalistic. No matter how diligently we approach the data management task, we may not get the results we want as quickly as we want. We should expect the unexpected — and even welcome it. As one panel member summarised: “Leave room for intuition, trust your gut, and be grateful when you find something you didn’t expect!”


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