When it comes to better use of data, just start

Wealth management business leader shares how it's using data to improve digital marketing and the lessons in harnessing data for business decision making

Proper use and surfacing of data and insights can make all the difference to the bottom line, attendees at the Domo Reimagine Series heard this week. And the best thing to do is just start.

Managing director and founder of Positive Group, Tom Caesar, discussed the difference data made to his business back when it was first founded 10 years ago and floundering.

“We set up a finance business in the middle of the GFC, which was a stupid time to do that. By six months in, we had a lot of debt," he told attendees. "We had to shift and find something new, so we tested a new AdWords campaign, and shifted from home loans to car loans. Moments after that campaign went live, the leads started flowing in. That was the moment we realised digital is where we had to be."

Now, Positive Group is using data to manage systems, staff and performance, saying it has had a lot of impact.

“To begin with, it was a challenge to help staff to see the data not as criticism, but as a help. Now, we have built a culture where data is seen as feedback and a tool for improvement," Caesar said. "We found if we work with employees on the data and give them the right data, it’s more constructive. This has had a large impact from cultural perspective throughout the whole organisation.”

Another boon has been the ability for Positive Group to see where time is being wasted on leads that won’t convert.

“We implemented a wastage strategy and realised we were wasting time on customers who were never likely to convert, and we could save about 1.5hrs a day, per centre, which ended up being about $150,000 per year in savings, which had a huge impact. We now better understand the characteristics of those who are not going to buy," Caesar continued. 

“Also, dealing with customers who are more likely to convert has resulted in a cultural benefit, which has an impact on new hires and how quickly we can on-board them. That, in turn, has vast business benefits.

“We found in the call centre we were so focused on contacting someone quickly and how many times we called them until they became a dead lead, rather than focusing on the right time frames to call. When we started adjusting that, we could see we were much better off calling them at certain times, rather than number of times." 

Positive Group is now looking to Domo to start working on predictive insights, where these fit, and in what parts of the business.

"Data has empowered staff, to take pressure off me; they are now coming to me with insights,” Caesar said. 

Caesar recommended just starting on the data journey and getting some answers.  

“We built a whole new data model, but it took us to start to realise how broken that old data was. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. The data will never be perfect, just start,” he said. 

Partner at Deloitte, Tony Trewhella, said digital transformation means organisations are moving into a world more uncertain than what they have been living in.

“Decisions have to be made quicker, and those decisions can make a massive difference to competitive edge. But we need to use technology to make those decisions faster. Gone are the days of massive data warehouses and creating reports and spend time thinking about them weeks later,” he explained.

“Organisations always need to go back to what their core strategy is, and everything needs to hang off the strategy. A big component of that is data; organisations have more data at their disposal, but that’s becoming a problem, because to bring it together and get to the right data is difficult.

“We need to bring it all together, self-serve, and get reports quicker - not reports from last month; it needs to be a report from this morning’s data. Trends are changing so fast, even using data from last week will lead to the wrong decision." 

For Trewahella, transformation is as much about cultural change as anything else.

"It’s important the business goes on the journey, enabled by technology, but by using simple technology and enable people to move towards better solutions, you can also overcome the culture inertia," he added. “Data lakes and data warehouses are a thing of the past, successful organisations are those using data fabrics that sit on top of those legacy assets, surfacing data and insights in a much more agile manner.” 

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