By Helen Tanner, CEO & Founder of Data3


I remember when COVID-19 first started to get attention. I was far more worried about the potential of a two-week quarantine than getting the virus. And then lockdown hit…4 weeks became 8 weeks became 12 weeks. For someone like me, who travels, explores, and socialises regularly, it was a shock to the system. But then it hit me…now’s the time to finish the book!

After four months of planning, writing, editing, and reviewing, and a couple of months of professional typesetting and proofing, The Data Escalator was published in September 2020.

Let me explain what it’s all about and what inspired me to write my first ever book…

Think about it – every business, even a start-up or micro SME, has data.

This could include…

• the data you collect on your customers

• your website, email, and social media data

• your financial data showing money in and money out

• the data you collect on your employees

• the platforms and third-party tools you use

• and so on


Once a business has even a handful of employees, every business will have islands of data including:

•  financial system

•  web analytics tool

•  email marketing tool

•  social media platform

•  customer relationship management tool

• ecommerce platform

• human resources system

• payroll tool

• database

• cloud data storage solution

• ton of excel spreadsheets

• and more


The larger the business, the more data islands you will have.

And this is where the problem starts – every business has disparate, disconnected data. They don’t have a single source of truth. Everyone within the business quotes different numbers. Which causes a mistrust of any data facts, information and statistics shared. So, data feels like a problem. For every business.


On top of the data problem, working with data can be high risk. Particularly when you’re working with confidential commercially sensitive data or personally identifiable individual data.

We’ve all seen news reports on data hacks, thefts and loss – these events result in press coverage, reputational damage, customer loss and fines. So data security needs to be at the front of everyone’s minds, when it comes to a data project.


Every business can make or save money using data.

Think about…

• seeing all your data in one place so you can spot opportunities and problems quickly and easily

• identifying where to cut costs using data

• seeing where business results are good or bad across your business so you can target your effort in the right places

• combining data across your business to identify cross-departmental opportunities

• personalising your products and services for your clients using data

• creating brand new products and services for your current customers or for new markets

• providing all your staff with a single view of customer, employee, product, or another business asset

• monetising your data and creating brand new revenue streams


Most businesses can increase their profit by at least 10% using data they already have in their business. And what business doesn’t want to increase their profit? Particularly in the tough market we’re working in today.

Yet data skills, experience and knowledge are hard to find – they’re in high demand, but low supply, so they’re an expensive and rare commodity.


So where do you start?

You and your business can ride the Data Escalator TODAY using this step-by-step guide. I have broken down all the different things you’ll need to consider, when it comes to data, into eight simple steps:


IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE ‘WHY’, FORGET ABOUT THE ‘HOW’, ‘WHEN’ and ‘WHAT’

Step 1 is all about ensuring your data work is purposeful and results in valuable, actionable insight. This starts with understanding what your objectives are, what you’re trying to achieve, and what good looks like BEFORE starting any data work.


IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING, YOU’LL NEVER GET THERE

Step 2 is to create a data strategy that is aligned to your business strategy and sets out a clear vision for your business to achieve. This starts with reviewing your business strategy and the data insight that exists today.


IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT DATA IS AVAILABLE, YOU’LL MISS THE GOOD STUFF

Step 3 involves identifying, reviewing, and mapping your data sources to your business needs, so you understand what data you can play with. This covers internal vs external data and structured vs unstructured data.


IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE THE DOTS ARE, YOU’LL NEVER JOIN THEM UP

Step 4 is focused on extracting your data and connecting it together. This includes finding unique identifiers to perfectly match your data.


IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE RISKS, YOU CAN’T MITIGATE THEM

Step 5 is to transform, prepare, and sort your data, so it’s ready for analysis. This starts with ensuring your data is secure, compliant, and robust.


IF YOU DON’T TRY, YOU’LL NEVER KNOW

Step 6 involves analysing your data to find new patterns and trends. This covers descriptive, comparative, and predictive analytics as well as using artificial intelligence and statistical tools.


IF IT DOESN’T TELL YOU SOMETHING, WHAT’S THE POINT?

Step 7 is to visualise your data to present intuitive designs and insight to your target users. This includes the types of visualisations, graphs, imagery, and tools you can use.

IF THERE’S NO BUSINESS BENEFIT, WHY BOTHER?

Step 8 is using your data to make or save more money, in a compliant and customer-focused way. This starts with thinking about who would value your data and what they’d do with it.


After taking the eight steps of the Data Escalator, you will be able to:

• Create a data strategy and plan for your business

• Launch your first data project

• Know what good data looks like


This Data Escalator will enable you to:

• Apply big business strategies to your business

• Take advantage of cutting-edge technology and tools

• Monetise data to power your business growth


So, what are you waiting for? Ride the data escalator TODAY