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How to harness digital change by drawing value from data

By Tim Banks, Head of user experience

Reading Room


The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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March 19, 2021 | 5 min read

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic shift in the way consumers use services, with many now expecting digital as a default. Businesses and brands have reacted quickly to digitize their offering, adapting to the new status quo, but the pace of this change has also shed light on the challenges digital transformation can present.

The Reading Room on why understanding the context of data is so valuable to understanding your users.

The Reading Room on why understanding data is so valuable to understanding your users

The renewed focus on digital services offers organizations an opportunity to improve service delivery by utilizing the data held on customers. However, with such a wealth of data points now available, it is often hard to know where to begin. Without the skills required to determine how data relates back to user behavior and needs, it’s easy to overlook the true value of the information you have at your fingertips.

What are the challenges to extracting insights from data?

Getting the full picture. It’s easy to have holes in your data, often from key areas such as Google Analytics tracking. Data is required from all aspects of a journey, so you can understand it end-to-end. Interpreting and combining information from multiple data points can also be tricky.

Onboarding the technical skills. Data skills don’t come cheap. It’s often not cost-effective to bring them in-house, so understanding can be limited to the data analysis and tools that teams have experienced first-hand. In these circumstances, working with a specialist can help provide a wider set of analytical skills and broader experience. At Reading Room, our clients appreciate that we’ve worked on a range of different projects across various sectors. Our experience helps us to think laterally about what insight is really needed and avoid the common pitfalls that data analysis can throw up.

What’s the best place to start?

Start by reviewing the data you have available (both first- and third-party) and be sure to include a range of business areas when sourcing information. Your team members have a deep understanding of the challenges they face and hold specialist knowledge, so it’s important to collect data from internal stakeholders to determine opportunities and common problems.

Data can be extremely valuable, but only if correctly analyzed. In-depth research can help you determine your business or organization’s key challenges through understanding any technical requirements, user needs, internal governance and security considerations.

Four steps to discovering the value of your data

Extracting insights from data can be challenging, so we’ve shared four steps below to help do just that:

  1. Link metrics to strategic goals: It’s important you have a clear mission; you can then form the goals to achieve it, understand what insight is necessary to do so and define how success will be measured. This avoids tangents and keeps your digital change process on track.

  2. Identify opportunities for change: Identifying patterns in user behaviors will highlight areas for improvement as you move online. Prioritize their needs – users will ultimately decide whether your digital delivery succeeds or fails.

  3. Conduct testing: This is a crucial step in translating theory into successful application of your insight. It allows you to validate your assumptions of what will work for each user group in different contexts and optimize based on results.

  4. Evolution: With a deeper understanding and more comprehensive data comes the opportunity to evolve and refine digital solutions based on more specific groups of users. For example, personalization and segmentation allow more effective targeting but require this deeper level of insight to be truly effective.

Data allows us to identify the most suitable way to take a service from offline to online, the opportunities there are to build upon an existing service and how best to deliver value. It enables us to understand user behaviour, establish benchmarks and decide how to fix problems.

By exploring relevant data, you can understand the needs of your users and then decide how to improve your services in the long-term. Data is vital to success. However, data is only valuable if you understand its context.

If you’d like to learn more about digital transformation or would like support in getting true value from your data, get in touch.

Tim Banks is head of UX at Reading Room.


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