The dynamic and disruptive business environment that we are facing with the rapid expansion of AI and technology requires a strategic approach to achieving higher growth and sustainability.
Data is a tool that can empower this strategy in a meaningful manner by unlocking insights that can drive growth, improve efficiencies, and create pathways towards continued success for any business or entity.
The Evolution of Data
One of the most overlooked assets of a business is its databank!
Most modern companies collect a variety of data that are relevant to the different departments in order to reach the objectives that are set forth by the Executives and decision-makers.
Historically, data collection was a simplistic process and was limited to the access to information that one could manually or digitally collect from potential clients, peers, or markets.
Thanks to the explosion of technology, there is now an infinite opportunity to collect meaningful and relevant data for companies of any size.
The downside of this access to limitless data is that the tool becomes too bulky to use easily. Too much data is collected or obtained by companies who do not necessarily know how to harness its power.
This is where a data-driven strategic approach can be invaluable. If the data drives the strategy, it can offer insights through a variety of analyses that would otherwise not have been considered.
This can give the company a competitive advantage within its markets. And interestingly, the size of the data matters a lot less than the story it tells.
Listen to this 4-minute video where we discuss adding data into strategic planning.
Data as the Foundation
Establishing a robust foundation is essential for high-growth and success in any company. When data drives the strategic planning decisions, this foundation becomes stronger. Analyses of historical data, current data, market data, and consumer data in conjunction with each other allows for a strategy that informs the future.
Learning from past successes and failures, evaluating market dynamics, and predicting customer behavior patterns using data analytics contributes to better decision-making, particularly in aligning organizational goals and propelling new initiatives.
The beauty of this objective approach to decision-making lies in the fact that it transcends intuition and relies on empirical evidence to create a sustainable and realistic outcome. It accounts for the competition, the market, the product/service, the past, and the future in a holistic strategy.
The SMART Approach to Goals
A cornerstone of data-driven strategic planning is the adoption of SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These goals function as the compass guiding the organization's efforts, providing clarity and precision to ensure every initiative aligns with the overarching strategic vision.
According to Michelle Page, fractional Chief Revenue officer, “if a high-growth company aims to expand its market share, a SMART goal might be to achieve a 20% increase in market share within the next 12 months. This goal is specific (20% increase), measurable (market share), achievable (based on data analysis), relevant (aligned with growth objectives), and time-bound (12 months).”
Companies that want to achieve high-growth have to consider market expansion as a strategic priority. And data can be an invaluable tool to help them achieve this goal efficiently.
Data can be gathered by performing market research, tracking market trends, measuring consumer preferences, or even calculating the impacts of competitor performance in the market.
These data can be analyzed using various techniques, designs, and methodologies to uncover hidden opportunities and identify the potential for growth in a competitive landscape.
A data-driven strategy would use these analyses to determine what segments to target, when to target, and how to target in a manner that ensures sustained growth.
Technology, Innovation, and Product Development
Technology, innovation, and product development are key areas of focus for many high-growth seeking companies and industries.
Everyone wants to be the new “iPhone” or “ChatGPT” or “Uber” of their industry but without sufficient information about what unique value proposition they have to offer, they might just become one of the thousands of companies that fade into anonymity each year.
Data analyses can help companies to identify their unique value proposition by pinpointing market gaps, recognizing consumer needs, forecasting trends in the industry to ensure that all innovation related efforts made by the company are strategically designed for success.
Data-Driven Decision-Making in Action
Consider a scenario where an e-commerce company seeking high-growth and success is considering how to expand into the market.
An easy first step to consider might be to either expand product offerings or to expand their market reach. So, which one should they pursue so that they can be “SMART” in achieving their objectives?
Data-driven insights can help them answer this question. Analyses of existing data regarding consumer behaviors, elasticities, and market trends allow for a careful weighing of the costs and benefits of pursuing these goals.
This type of objective cost-benefit analysis would allow the e-commerce company to determine the Rate of Returns on investing resources towards these goals before strategically choosing which path to take to high-growth by reducing risks and optimizing outcomes.
Data-driven decision-making allows a company to create a roadmap towards sustainable success.
By leveraging data and analytics to establish SMART goals, inform market expansion, drive innovation, and generate data-driven strategies, companies can position themselves for sustainable growth in today's dynamic business landscape.
In the realm of strategic planning, data is the keystone that supports the arch of triumph!
In a recent virtual webinar, a number of fractional executives delved into various approaches to strategic planning in the business context.
Listen to our conversation here.
About the Author
Dr. Kruti Lehenbauer
Fractional Chief Data & Analysis Officer
Dr. Kruti Lehenbauer is a professional with a Ph.D. in Political Economy, renowned for her exceptional academic achievements. With a wealth of experience in consulting and economics teaching, she has made her mark as a global influencer in quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, economic analysis, and risk assessments for various entities on local, national, and international scales.
Dr. Lehenbauer is recognized as a strategic mastermind, effortlessly deciphering complex data analysis and research to deliver actionable insights. Her prowess extends to crafting reports with captivating visuals, analysis, and presentations that make intricate information easily understandable and actionable for businesses.
Read Kruti’s bio.
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