How to use data-driven insights to innovate

Data is king

Strive for improvement not perfection is one of Flight Centre’s Technology Chief Customer Officer Mike Dudarenok’s key pieces of advice when it comes to using data to innovate in business.

It’s a trap too many fall into that often leads to failure, where failure is not an option.

At his Data is King presentation at CeBIT Australia 2017, Dudarenok took his audience on a journey looking at technology adoption in the travel industry. Did you know the travel industry was the second industry to adopt computers? Fun trivia aside, Dudarenok made it abundantly clear data is king today - not 10-15 years ago - because it’s cheaper and more accessible than ever to collect. It’s more available. But it’s a convergence of three forces (technology, availability and business value) that have made data a top priority when it comes to innovating in business.

The convergence of forcesAs the diagram explains, key technologies that were once untouchable are now mainstream. And new players are coming into the market that compete with legacy providers. And probably the biggest factor: businesses want to innovate so they’re investing in ways to get good data, and get it faster.

How can you innovate using data driven insights? Dudarenok suggests there are 5 critical factors:

  1. Dream: Be clear on WHY you’re doing what you’re doing and validate what you find against it. Have the dream then work out how to get there. For the travel industry it’s creating an experience people want to be part of.

  2. Collect: Collect the data - all data has value and we may not understand its potential now. So store it and keep it available for use later.

  3. Be agile: Don’t make the mistake of taking the big bang approach - start small and keep going. That’s how you get moving. Always strive for continuous delivery and immediate benefits.

  4. Measure: Define what success looks like for you and measure against it. Is it clicks? Changing the way someone interacts with your service or content?

  5. Be infinite: Play the infinite game of staying in the game, striving to become better at each and every iteration. There is no end-game.

In a world where there really is no end-game we need to continuously innovate to serve our customer base to beat the competitor, Dudarenok has some words of advice for common mistake he sees.

Technology: Wrong technology for the job - pick the technology that is most appropriate for the task at hand and feed it with data!  

User: Stop forgetting that there is an end-user, ensure you validate your choices against business or customer benefits rather than model comprehensiveness.

MDM / Reference Data: In the world of highly unstructured data, meta-data has more value than a perfect golden record.

Perfection: While striving for perfection is a noble cause, do not fall into perfection paralysis – instead strive for improvement.

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