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No Time like the Present to be Data Informed

Being data driven is not the end, rather just the first step in being data informed.


Prabhleen Bhatia

While in the present age, a data-driven mindset is indispensable for organizations, an approach that is solely concentrated in a single direction is bound to fail at some point. Exclusive reliability on data does not take businesses to new heights. As companies come to rely too much on data, they risk applying those data-based solutions without any regard for human experience. An approach that works backward is rooted in empathy for humans in the loop combined with relevant data-it is bound to succeed. Being data driven is not the end, rather just the first step in being data informed.

The most thriving companies today, be it Facebook, Google or Uber, have all utilized data in the most effective manner to secure competitive advantage with customer experience being at the heart of what they do. What separates these organizations from the rest is that decision making is based not only on data but also on experiences, research, and effective communication within the organization to optimize strategies. While a data-driven approach might tell you exactly what to do next, being data informed means going a step ahead, looking at the larger picture, utilizing experience and inputs other than data to devise solutions that are competitive and provide long-term value to your customers. 

While organizations today have no dearth of actionable data available to them to drive innovation to serve their customers better, statistics show that consumers are far from satisfied with many product and service offerings. Google’s Head of Analytics, Kevin Hartman, pointed out: "Never have marketers known so much about their customers, yet customers have never been more unhappy with marketing."

What not to do to avoid data-driven innovation failure :

Silos and fiefdoms

Lack of transparency, efficiency, communication across all departments in an organization, when it comes to data, is detrimental. Running a business with isolated data is a sure shot way of ensuring non-success. Data silos involves different teams working independently, leading to a not-so-collaborative company culture as well as unsatisfactory customer experience outside the organization. Seamless data flow across a company helps departments take insightful decisions to not only improve operations and products but also discover hidden opportunities.

Lack of empathy

Products that are built by visualizing customers’ perspective create value and are sure to succeed. Understanding customers’ pain points instead of pushing a product-which companies feel is best for their customers-will not result in sales. Visualize customers as actual human beings and not just a piece of data. Empathy-based approaches transform businesses. 

Inefficient planning and strategy

Your company’s data strategy must align with the overall business goals. The two are not mutually exclusive. Right from collecting data, analyzing it, managing it, to drawing conclusions and formulating a plan, data has to be looked at holistically to support an organization’s business strategy. Creating value for business and customers alike requires placing data capabilities with business-for example increasing profits, saving costs, and improving customer loyalty. A solid data strategy requires alignment, a defined process, transparency and continuous optimizations. 

Lack of due diligence

More often than not, organizations find themselves entangled in how data is discovered, managed and stored. What they forget is due diligence. Data is an important asset, needless to say. Ensuring right security is a must to defend against any potential breach. A comprehensive and integrated system that gives a 360-degree view across the organization from a single central point, is necessary.

For your data to give the desired results, it’s important to create a coordinated approach, do away with organizational silos, and integrate data into overall business objectives. Your data must exist and be utilized to support the business goals and strive to create value-driven products for your customers. Data, on its own, does not give out all answers. Rather, it’s a means to get you to the next step. Interpreting it and aligning the insights with the realities of business is what ensures long-term success.

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