Why Real Time Data Matters To Your Small Business

For the past 18 months, taking quick action has been a crucial indicator of success for businesses. It continues to be necessary, as does the importance of collecting and reacting to real-time data.

Businesses that react more quickly than their competitors with short and long-term digital solutions tend to prosper, compared to those organizations that are not responding quickly, according to a study conducted by Adobe and the London School of Economics.

These successful businesses, which were also more agile before the pandemic, the research found, and “quickly recognized the need to make changes to their business processes, organizational structure, and resource optimization at speed,” says an Adobe blog.

But simply going faster isn’t necessarily the answer, notes Kate Smaje, senior partner at McKinsey Digital, in the blog.

“Rather, winning companies are investing in the tech, data, processes, and people to enable speed through better decisions and faster course corrections based on what they learn,” she says.

According to recent research from Accenture, data-driven enterprises grow at an average of more than 30 percent annually.

“This means embracing data as you would human, financial and intellectual capital—the lifeblood for businesses to grow and compete over the last few centuries,” writes Shail Jain, global lead of Data & AI Technology at Accenture, in a report called Data-Driven Reinvention

Transforming Real-Time Data

Collecting real-time data is vital, but some businesses don’t always know how to use it.

Often it’s not as much about getting the data as it is making that real-time customer experience data work for your business, says Pedro Sousa Cardoso, executive director of Standard Chartered, in the Adobe Communications blog

Less than one in four rate their organization as “very strong” when it comes to gaining actionable insights quickly, cites the 2021 Adobe Trends Report.

“How we can transform that data into actionable insights and make good use of that data is what matters,” says Cardoso, who addressed a recent Adobe Summit.

The goal to gain new customers, Cardoso said the bank unified its data foundation and put in place a more sophisticated analytics process to gain necessary insights to help create customer-centric experiences. 

Jain pointed to Accenture research that indicated 81 percent of organizations lack an enterprise data strategy to capitalize on their data assets fully and 84 percent lack the right data platform.

While becoming data-driven is a worthy strategy, he writes that more businesses need to define what that means. 

It’s a mind shift of sorts. Jain suggests business owners and leaders move from thinking about how data is collected, analyzed, and applied to “what your business needs to achieve and build the data strategy to support it.”

Real-Time Customer Data Rules

The value of the customer data now being captured is vast, explains NPD Group’s food and beverage analyst David Portalatin.

Customer data can “inform better suggestive selling, new product development, and limited-time offers that are relevant to specific customer needs,” he says in an Adobe blog.

It’s all about first-party data, says Stephen Eyears, general manager for Strategy and Technology at 7-Eleven.

“Relaunching My 7-Eleven is clearly about being more convenient for customers, but we want customer data like everyone else wants customer data, so we can anticipate people’s needs and respond to them,” he told an Adobe forum.

Use Data Like a GPS

Mark Stouse, chairman and CEO of Proof Analytics, says tapping into the real-time data stream in real time, lets you recompute and redraw the business picture, he said in a blog posted by the marketing technology firm MarTech.

“It’s not hard to use data as it’s being collected. It gives you observations, and improved confidence in the results,” he said.

“Being able to recompute on the fly makes small data much like a GPS,” Stouse says in the MarTech blog by William Terdoslavich.

“It allows you to navigate the problem and make changes,” no different than changing the route on a road trip, Stouse said.

The Adobe blog points to brands that prioritize developing a customer data strategy, like 7-Eleven, which recently relaunched its My 7-Eleven app to connect the company and its consumers in the ‘last mile’ of purchases.

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