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The Explosion of Data: When is It Too Much?

We are part of an increasingly connected world, and many would say that is a good thing. Linked information on linked channels with linked interfaces is our modern formula for convenience. But there is a downside to that convenience, and as prolific as the Internet of Things has become, it is not without complication.

One very intriguing element of the Cloud and the Internet of Things is its ability to generate data on a massive scale. Linked devices, assigned given tasks, can report components of their efficiency, success rate, etc., to a common hub for end-users to analyze. As the Cloud grows, so does the amount of data we are able to collect, which is especially beneficial for businesses.

But hay bales of data are not the sole component of a successful business, and with more information entering our lives, finding the needle of actionable data is a difficult task. Limitations must be set and funnels crafted so that the right information trickles into productive buckets and carefully curated algorithms must be used to sift and make sense of the data. Human thought and oversight working in harmony with algorithms is necessary to get value from all this data.

There is plenty of gold out there for prospectors to pan, but you need careful thought and the appropriate tools to find it.

Your connected toaster may be a fantastic way to prepare breakfast in the morning, but chances are it doesn’t play into your office growth strategy.

In 2016, the Cloud and the Internet of Things will absorb more components of our lives, but sorting and allocating importance of the data generated will fall on us. We will need to dictate what connected “things” we will learn and grow from, panned from an increasing cacophony of noise.

For businesses in particular, agents will need ways to remove redundancies and cross analyze information. It all boils down to linking the right “things,” with purpose.

Sales and customer service hubs may serve as ground zero for data prospecting – for many companies, this is already true. Luckily, CRM platforms and coinciding analytics software, such as Salesforce Wave Analytics, are already working to help with the brunt of work.

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As the IoT expands and data collecting devices such as phones, computers and wearables advance, data will be pushed to capacity. Analytics platforms will be a necessity for even the most base level operations. In preparation, business should prioritize their data.

When weeding through your data collection systems, it may help to consider the following as top sources for data intake:

  • The contact center: You should already be cataloging and analyzing your company’s incoming and outgoing communication to some extent. Expect to do more in the next year. Key considerations should be emerging channels as first point of contact. Make sure your data stream includes all possible ways a person could engage with your company, whether that be through phone, social media, wearable apps, etc. Sales, customer service and any other customer facing team member should have access to information pertaining to when, where and why customers are talking to you.
  • Online purchase/service channels: Next down we have the purchase and service portals for your business. These portals should be acting as proactive – sometimes passive – data collectors. Beyond basic customer information, businesses can use customer tracking tools to determine how customers interact with their webpage, where they abandon or advance their journey, and what campaigns/messages resonate as a result.
  • Devices directly associated with your business: Use wearables as “where-ables,” meaning if relevant to your business bring these additional IoT devices into the mix. For instance, if you’re an athletic shoe company and customers can elect to link their running data to your brand via an apple watch, you may find that information useful. A furniture company may find that data less appealing.
While you may be tempted to look at everything from the gas usage of your sales teams to the energy efficiency of your monitors, keeping data limited to the most relevant information will insure that you can improve your business in the areas that need it most.
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