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Selecting the source of data is as important as making the decision to use data in the first place

With increased coverage on the importance of using data to grow your business, there is a danger that, in trying not to get left behind, you select the wrong provider/partner. What are the critical things to consider when making this important decision?

Having made the decision to use data, ensure the provider you select has a robust platform that delivers quality data that is accurate and is relevant for the needs of your business. 

You will be using the data to make decisions about whether to extend credit terms to new clients and whether to increase credit terms to existing clients. You will also be using the data to determine strategic direction and identify new clients/markets. To achieve this successfully, the data has to be up to date and accurate. It needs to come from a source you can rely on.

I have seen some providers’ guarantee that their data “will not be more than 6 months out of date”. You need data that is current and up to date – ensure your provider can confirm that they are updating their system daily.

Volume of data
Does your provider get access to all the data you need? To make informed decisions you need to make sure you have all the information to hand – this is a situation where the 80/20 does not apply. Ask the provider to confirm the quantity of data they have in their system and where they source their data from.

Ease of use and functionality
There is no excuse for poor platforms that require an educational qualification to understand how to operate them. The system should be intuitive, easy to use, and you should be able to get to the core data you are seeking with only a few simple clicks. If it is more complicated than that, you risk finding that your team will not make effective use of the system, or even worse, they may resort to their original processes for making decisions.

Can the system provide an unlimited monitoring function? The system should support you in managing your business whilst freeing up time for you and your team to use the data to grow new sustainable revenue streams.

Training and support
Online help and telephone helpdesks are very useful, but there are occasions when a face to face meeting is more beneficial. If this is needed, is the provider available and willing to commit the time? Are they competent enough to help you work through what you are trying to deliver and be able to support you in the integration of the data within your business strategy and make it relevant to you? Do they provide initial training as part of their service?  

Selecting the right data source will enable you to utilise data to help you do better business. Do not compromise on this important decision.

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