Checklist: use your data to provide a competitive edge

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Hiding within those mounds of data is knowledge that could save lives.
— Atul Butte

You have a mountain of data but how can you use it to persuade and provide you with a competitive edge?

Here is a list of possible areas that you might have data on you could use to persuade. This list was developed after reading Mark Rijmenam's great book, Think Bigger: Develop a successful big data strategy for our business. 

  • Service
  • Opportunities
  • Competitors
  • Effectiveness
  • Customers
  • Products
  • Risk
  • Pricing


Online and mobile data will allow companies to monitor customer's behaviour in real-time. Whether it's a general offer like Amazon's 'people who were interested in this also bought...' Or whether it's a personalised offer shown on your mobile because you are within 2km of a favourite shop.

Or you can predict which customers are about to switch to your competitors and offer them something to stay. In most businesses it's five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain a customer.


Can you monitor what is being said on social media every day and react to improve a product or fix a problem?


Can you analyse past data to identify risky customers, risky suppliers or risky employees? Can you monitor data to manage your risk? For example, car insurance companies could agree to lower premiums for motorists who install GPS devices that record how they drive. Risky drivers would not have their premiums renewed or would pay more, safer driving would be rewarded with lower premiums.


How much is an airplane seat worth? It depends on how close to departure you book and how many people have already booked.This variation in pricing is known as yield management. It allows you to make high profits at times of high demand and to increase volumes at times of low demand. Reducing fluctuations in demand and increasing profits from pricing. Can your data help you change how you price your services?


Can you monitor operating performance in real-time and predict when service is needed and which parts need replacing? Newer BMW cars already monitor the condition of engines and only tell you to go to the garage for a service when you need to.


Can you combine your data with public data to highlight business opportunities. All over the world, government organisations are sharing huge sets of data. In Australia, the Australian Bureau of Statistics offers much data. Or have a look at Google:


In our experience, companies spend insufficient time monitoring competitors. Much information is anecdotal and out of date. Can you monitor social media or websites and adjust your prices and activities? Can you monitor the success of new products?


Can you make your company more effective? Whether by monitoring vehicles location and speed with sensors. Or by using mobile data to collect orders faster and automatically. Can you show queues in processes in real-time? Can you measure how your vehicles are ultilised in real-time to show where you have lazy assets?

Use these eight areas as a checklist to explore how your organisation can benefit better from data.