On Tuesday, March 28, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to allow internet service providers (ISPs) to collect and sell their customers’ browsing data. This vote that was divided along party lines is just another reminder of the state of the marketplace in the 21st century where businesses collect huge sets of data with an intention to profit from it.

In this age of Big Data, business organizations are collecting data and storing it like nothing seen before in the business world. The intention of this collection is to use the data to help create more customized products and services. That is why intellectual knowhow and capital are said to be more important business assets than the physical infrastructure that a business is housed in.

A marketer cannot be effective in their work without the proper market data. In fact, the best marketers in the world are those that have the most recent and most accurate data of their target consumers and who know how to analyze it to turn a profit.

As businesses embrace big data as the order of business in today’s marketplace, challenges emerge regarding how they should handle the data that keeps piling up with the dawn of every day. In particular, businesses are struggling with unorganized data; from storing it to analyzing it towards making better marketing decisions.

Without a clearly defined data structuring plan, businesses find themselves with mountains of data that they can’t tell what to do with but which they are afraid of letting it go lest it proves useful in the future.

Recent reports indicate that this unorganized data is fast becoming an unsustainable burden to most businesses and if no clear changes to its organization are made, the data may become a serious hurdle to progress for these businesses in the near future.

Moreover, businesses that heavily depend on consumer data to come up with marketing strategies are bound to experience a significant dip in the profits they record. According to IDC, companies are accumulating data at a rough annual compound growth rate of 60%.

This exponential increase in data, which includes huge sets of the unorganized type will cost these companies millions. IBM estimates that bad data costs the United States $3 trillion every year. The following are ways in which unstructured huge sets of data are affecting businesses today.

Wasted time

Retrieving unstructured data is always a nightmare. The process is frustrating and takes a lot of time. Time that would have been used to achieve other business objectives. Often, businesses find themselves in desperate need of some data that is part of the huge pile of data they have been accumulating over time, but that they have to search through.

Sifting through these huge sets of data takes hours of valuable time, putting the business at a notable disadvantage against its rivals that have found ways to organize their data. In a marketplace that is rife with never seen before level of business competition, a delay in finding data means delayed marketing strategies and consequently, money not made. The last thing any business should afford is to give its competitors a clear edge just because it failed to organize the data it collected from its customers.

Limitations in reporting and forecasting

If the data a business collects cannot help create meaningful business reports and a clear forecast of the business environment, then the data is meaningless. Unorganized huge sets of data make it practically impossible for businesses to make accurate conclusions regarding their customers’ needs, thereby creating a thread of poor business decisions that have little basis on facts.

Incomplete, inaccurate or flawed data leads to wrong business decisions and ultimately a waste of business opportunities. There is nothing that ruins the marketing strategies for businesses like unorganized data does.

To predict the behavior of a customer, a business must make an accurate assessment of the customer’s data. As a matter of fact, there have been events where businesses did not even create any marketing strategy targeting certain consumers because they could hardly make any noteworthy analysis of the data they had collected because it was almost irrecoverably unorganized.

Unpreparedness when disaster strikes

Unorganized data has a negative effect on disaster recovery. Without a clear picture of the data a business possesses, it is impractical that it would create a disaster recovery plan that can keep it afloat even when the most inconceivable disasters strike. This is because to formulate a disaster recovery plan, the business must seek to have the most accurate data regarding the business assets, and unorganized data would hinder this, making the company incompetently prepared for disasters.

Ineffectiveness in marketing

In modern-day marketing, the most effective marketing strategies are those that personalize the marketing campaign messages. Marketers use collected customer data to help them figure out how they can reach out to customers who had at one point interacted with their products or services but later disconnected themselves from the brand. The data is also vital in improving the email metrics of the firm which waste roughly $180,000 for the average business enterprise.

Unlike years past, personalization is a must for every business that wants to stay competitive in the business world today. A company’s unorganized data takes a toll on a business’s capability in creating personalized marketing resulting in a reduction in sales.

Available statistics indicate that 74% of customers are frustrated by websites that fail to deliver the content that aligns with their interests. To satisfy these people, a business must analyze the data it collects on them and create bespoke solutions that will be acceptable in fulfilling their desires. Failure to do this will push your customers to your business rivals who have used their data to create personalized solutions to their product consumers.

Things fall apart

As already mentioned above, business data is growing at a rate of 60% every year. Therefore, a business that has not figured out how to organize its data can find itself with so much unorganized data that is almost impossible to fix. A few years of this and the data spirals out of control affecting the enterprise’s bottom line in the process.

For this reason, businesses cannot afford to allow unorganized data to accumulate unchecked. Every resource that can be spared must be used to stop the snowball effect which could force the business to discard all its data and begin a fresh customer database, thereby losing business data worth millions.

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