6 Tips to help you start planning your data analytics strategy A good data strategy, like most things in your business, starts with your customer. The sales and marketing elements of your website are probably fantastic and you spend a lot of time on the analytics of landing points on this area of your site. But have you made the same investment in your customer service area or billing area for example? Knowing at what stage of the sales cycle a customer decides to purchase is one thing but how about the other end of the cycle – do you know what it is that motivates your customer to jump ship to your competitor when they come to the end of their policy or do you know when they get mad with their monthly bill and go elsewhere? This is why your data strategy has to stay fully focused on your customer’s entire relationship with your business. Sales, Accounts, Customer Service, Marketing, IT – all need to talk to each other about your cutomer’s entire journey Accenture’s latest report on high level engagement is an interesting insight into relations at board level between the IT and Marketing departments. But what about at team level? Large organisations often use some kind of staff brainstorming sessions across departments to help encourage useful co-operation. Successful data projects reflect joint thinking between the interested parties and often lead to relatively simple and cost effective solutions to tracking customer relationship and engagement. Remember: often data analytics can be built on top of existing IT systems. Here are my suggestions to help your team plan your data strategy: Spend time exploring the goals of the strategy – you may discover that there are some fundamental misunderstandings between parties about what is needed. (See my blog post on viewing your IT department as an extension of sales and marketing.) Build your data strategy team from all elements of the business but be sure to avoid the blame game: often the discussions can end up getting bogged down on what cannot be done now or difficulties with current systems Stay focused on the entire customer journey and all the touch points with your company – are there any gaps that text or voice analytics could help enrich? Does your billing system provide you with sufficient customer insight? Are you relying on ‘chat now’ call centre interaction rather than building in more sophisticated customer self-management systems on your website that can be analysed as well as being more customer responsive? Have you considered all the ways that you could integrate your structured and unstructured data sources? You might end up spending budget on buying in data when in reality your own systems hold vital information that when it is integrated with freely available external data sources could be more productive than bought lists. …and finally a top tip from our Data Scientist Simon Sleight: If you are about to move to another analytics platform or you are building one for the first time my advice is always to start small. Select data from functions that your business already understands really well to trial the process and allow your analytics team to gain confidence. Simon’s full guide to setting up data analytics is available here.