We make data-driven decisions every day; we just don’t always realize it. Data is far more than just numbers and figures; its use is part of an ingrained process we’ve learned over time. Every day we collect data from different sources, aggregate it, process it, and ultimately use it to make day-to-day decisions.

When it comes to business applications, there are good and bad types of data. Data quality is key in ensuring data is reliable and accurate. On its own, source data isn’t very useful; it requires business rules to make it actionable. These rules – whether it is an algorithm or process parameter – help turn data into a “meaningful” state which enables an organization to execute day-to-day tasks or long-term strategic plans. Or, more simply put, to make it “actionable.”

Good data is critical to helping organizations execute both daily tasks and long-term strategic plans. As the Senior Director of Business Intelligence at KeHE Distributors, I’m responsible for establishing and maintaining a single, company-wide, trusted source of data that’s comprehensive, intuitive, reliable, accessible, and secure. By developing products that leverage advanced algorithms, we enable our business partners to make informed decisions. Here are a few key benefits of investing in good, actionable data for your own organization:

Data enables businesses to be competitive

Companies are always looking to improve—to keep up with, or to stay ahead of, their peers. Data is a critical component of assessing business performance: How can a company know if it’s executing well on its strategy, or if a process is being executed correctly, without data?

Keeping track of performance, and thereby knowing how and when it needs improving, requires data collection and analysis. The right investments must be made in data if a company hopes to excel year over year. The key characteristics of data (volume, velocity, veracity, and variability) must be addressed through these investments.

Actionable data leads to innovation

Access to the right data and insights is crucial for organizations to grow and scale their business. At KeHE, for example, we created the KeHE CONNECT BI™ platform to provide all of our suppliers with easy access to sales data with added analytics and visualizations — enhancing the company’s already existing best-in-class reporting. This tool enables our suppliers to identify opportunities to grow their businesses, reduce administrative costs, increase efficiencies, minimize risk, and provide transparency. Gaining access to data and insights can be expensive, but it’s a worthy investment. 

Data plays a key role in profits

Simply put, data drives results. If just ten percent of data was made accessible, a typical Fortune 1000 company would see a sixty-five million dollar increase in net income (Forbes – NewVantage Partners).

Actionable data is both quantitative and qualitative. As a company defines its basis for operational excellence, it governs how data is used so that decision-making drives better business outcomes—for consumers, processes, or, ultimately, the financial bottom line.

Key takeaways

Consider taking stock of your company’s data situation. Are you in the wrong data camp? Business outcomes are the key indicator of this. If you have a source data issue, review the business process of how data is generated and collected. If you have a data processing issue, review the rules, parameters, and assumptions of your analysis model. It’s critical to take action to get into the “good” data camp.

KeHE’s CONNECT BI platform allows us to better serve our partners by providing data that can drive decisions. Investing in tools and capabilities that will enable a business to fully harness the power of data will help it thrive in the long run. Read more about KeHE CONNECT BI here.