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Connect Yorkshire member Razor on how you can use data to improve your business

Using data to inform business decisions and anticipate trends is no longer just for the largest corporations. It is something that all businesses can now leverage, and if you’re not doing it, you can be sure that your competitors will be.

Starting to work with data can often prompt a number of challenges from across your business. I’ve looked at some of the data analysis and insight work that we’ve done at Razor to suggest how you can mitigate these challenges and start to unlock the potential that your data holds.

Will our data be secure?

A common concern we hear when talking to partners about working with their data is around security. Where are we going to put it? How will we get it there? Who will be able to access it? All of these are fair questions. By working with our partner’s information security team, we can assess the real world risks. Most of the big data sets that we work with would mean nothing to anyone else who managed to access them in their raw form.

Like many data insight companies, we take a considered and robust approach to data security, whether it is our own or that of our partners. Before we get anywhere near a partner’s data, we establish their security requirements and plan accordingly. What we sometimes find when going through this process is that there are far greater risks with where their data currently lives, be that from external attacks or internally through lack of access control.

Is our data good enough?

It can feel like a bit of a leap of faith going from doing little or nothing with your data to trying to delve into it to uncover valuable insights. What if you don’t even have all of the data you need?

When this uncertainty exists, it can sometimes seem easier to do nothing at all. But doing nothing will, at best, get you nowhere.

Those of you who read my article about why you shouldn’t try to digitally transform your business will remember the ‘start small’ mantra, and this is exactly the approach to take here. Undertake a feasibility study to establish what you’ve got, what is possible now, and what other data you might need to start answering the questions you have. It may be that you need to spend the next 6 months collecting different information, but at least you’ll have found that out with minimal investment and not 3 months into the installation of a business information system.

Where do we start?

When working with our partners on data analysis and insight generation, the biggest hurdle that they tend to face is deciding where to start. Some opt to focus on the biggest pain point in their business, others go for what they believe to be the simplest question to answer and build from there. There’s no right or wrong answer, but the one thing that they all have in common is they’re moving forwards. As more and more businesses are coming to realise, standing still is no longer an option.

By Harry Worsnop, chief commercial officer at Razor

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