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e.g. John Smith

Does data have to be big?

16 January 2016

We’re all more connected to our technology, more of the time. And our technology increasingly tracks and records more of what, when and where we do things. In turn creating many more data points that seem to track nearly everything that’s happening on earth at any given time; from when we go for a jog, to the meteorological data recording every detail of our weather in every location around the globe.

All of which has lead to something of a media frenzy around the term ‘big data’ and its powers to solve ‘big problems’.

Big Data

...extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions.

To the Facebook’s and Google’s of this world, this term is no doubt both very relevant and very exciting. But aside from the few organisations that could potentially do something useful with all this data, we think the conversation surrounding data may have been misrepresented as just not something that most people and businesses need to consider accessing or utilising. We think this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious."
— Albert Einstein

We believe that every business can effectively utilise data to make a difference to their day-to-day; helping them to be better, faster and smarter. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, or the size of your operation; data collection and analysis is increasingly more available and easier to utilise and interpret in order to help you gain a competitive edge in your market. And you can bet that if you’re not doing it — one of your competitors is.

It might not be big data, but small and medium sized data is great too. It’s not about how much data you have, but what you do with it that counts.

Getting started with your data

Chances are you’re already collecting some basic data sets in you business. Whether that be sales figures, web traffic or customer records, you likely record this data as a matter of day-to-day operation. But is there an opportunity to do more with this data? To start to organise, analyse and utilise it in order to make better operational decisions and ultimately make your business more effective and efficient each and every day?

1. Organise & collate

Take some time to think about every data point in your business, some of this data might already be accurately tracked and logged by the systems you use. Other data might be manually collated and managed in spreadsheets or on the office whiteboard. Wherever it is, start to think about how any of this data might be useful if you could see more than just what’s happening that day or week. And where data is manually tracked or not really recorded, start to think about whether it could be documented digitally using even a simple spreadsheet.

2. Crunch & analyse

The more you take the time to document, the more you’ll understand about your own data. It’s often not until you’ve actively recorded data for at least a few months before patterns and insights start to emerge. This part is key because we start to see the truth — especially as the facts sometimes conflict with our instincts and assumptions — and we start realise the power of collecting data, which in turn is the trigger to understand how integral data can be to inform the overall strategy of your business.

3. Your data strategy

Collecting and analysing data can be fantastic to our understanding of our business, but like anything good, it takes time and there are often many potential data points that we could focus our time on. So as with any business decision, it all comes down to our wider strategic objectives. What are we trying to achieve in the next few months or years; and what (if any), of the data might help us most to meet those objectives?

4. A culture of data

If we can successfully organise ourselves to harness the power of data, it becomes part of our business DNA and a natural part of the conversation in every part of the business. Handled well, data can provide deep insights into our businesses, it can uncover new operational opportunities, reveal insights about our production, find trends amongst our audience demographics and report which of our investments are performing best.

At Cotidia, we of course have a fond relationship with data; making it, harvesting it and analysing it. Both for ourselves and for our clients. But we are also human and understand that any business (ours included) is always about more than just successfully utilising quantitative data sets. Sometimes data can even be misleading or will tell you only one side of the story, so we always advise that the decision making process be as broad as possible; inclusive of qualitative data and research as well as quantitative.

We’re big believers that people and culture as much as technology can help drive businesses forward, but that with the right technological tools, data could be feeding your organisation with new and invaluable insights that set you apart in your industry.

Please call us on 0121 638 0845 or email to discuss this with us in more detail.