It would not be a misnomer to state that 2020 has significantly transformed the lives of individuals, both personally and professionally.Individuals and businesses have faced big challenges to their lifestyles and working patterns. This jolt, felt across the world, has compelled people and businesses to accept and comply with a new normal; almost everyone has adopted a completely new way of living and working.
In the business world, 2020 has impacted every industry like never before. The lengthy global lockdowns have forced almost every segment of every industry to go online and go digital. The same can be said for the reluctant consumer demographics (like senior citizens). These drastic changes have challenged organizations to think differently and to find different ways to remain open and competitive in these incredibly challenging times.
At the same time, this new reality has also shown that online data collection is providing significant opportunities for businesses to strive and thrive in an essentially data-driven digital world, which has become the new business norm. Today, online data collection has become next big commodity.
Online Data Collection – The Next Business Commodity
It is evident just how important the use of data is when making critical business decisions. Data has become especially critical for businesses in recent months. The rapid pace at which industry changes have occurred correlates with how much businesses now rely on live data to anticipate further changes and/or respond to them accordingly. This realization in itself has created a major shift, leading to the increased commoditization of online live data as the tool to handle unexpected challenges and situations.
It is a normal practice now for businesses to plan for the future based on their own past and current data. However, the new realization for these businesses is that this kind of analysis merely depicts only half of the story.
Exploring external sources of data and collecting meaningful data from them is now critical for businesses to survive.
For example, e-commerce is an industry where online data collection helps businesses gain a better understanding of their customers’ expectations and demands. In today’s world, retailers need a snapshot of the market reality at any moment in time. For that, it is essential for them to have access to streams of real-time data from external sources. This not only helps businesses make better decisions regarding company strategy and direction but also guides them in optimizing pricing based on what their competitors are offering location-wise and item/offering-wise.
Online data collection also helps retailers manage their logistics and to stock the right products, depending on consumer preferences. It also enables them to test new products and to understand faster how successful existing products are among their consumer base.
A similar kind of scenario has developed in the finance sector. Industries in this sector, like banks, financial institutions and investment firms, are clinging to online data collection due to recent market changes.This sector now understands that with accessibility to relevant and faster streams of data, they can gain a more precise and comprehensive picture of potential current and future investments. This way, the finance sectorcan also gain on-the-spot intelligence to enhance revenues, accurately allocate loans, and a lot more.
Kickstarting Data Collection – The 3 Guiding Steps
So, what exactly do all those businesses need to know about accessing relevant, real-time data? How will gaining live data insights enable them to prepare for even more complex challenges and unexpected situations due to market shifts?
First and foremost,they need to remember that it is never too early to start collecting data. As a matter of fact, the earlier the better. Usually, smaller businesses think that data collection is essential only for the bigger players. In reality, companies of all sizes can benefit from collecting actionable data insights. To get a real taste of it, a smaller business can start small. Basically, the key to data collection is to focus on your clearly defined data requirements. This can be done by identifying the biggest business challenges businesses want to address and then gaining access to the specific data that will help solve it.
Secondly, get things going manually to better understand how the process works and what impacts consumers. It goes without saying that every business decision counts in the current environment. As there is no room for error, starting manually will help a business work out any early issues easily.
Lastly, it is crucial to turn to automated data collection solutions to scale up. You don’t need to have expertise in data collection, as this is not your core business function. So, the best way is to let your employees focus on their respective jobs and have the data collected on your behalf. This way, you get all the benefits with less work for your team and at a lower cost.
Ultimately, we all know that no business can precisely predict the future under any circumstances. However, online data collection helps them get very close to doing so. With access to external data insights, you can gain a live, transparent, and unbiased view of how customers interact with your brand and that of your competitors. This can help businesses gain the best position to successfully navigate these uncertain waters and thus acquire that all-important competitive edge, always.