Finding the Best Data to Drive Decision Making
“It’s all about the data and you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Listening to one’s gut is important when starting a new business, but I am a strong believer in using data to validate what the gut is saying.”-Lance Crosby, CEO, StackPath
Data helped launch the first person to the moon, but it also nearly sank Coca Cola in 1985 when it launched New Coke after more than 200,000 taste tests. If you’re going to use data to make decisions, it’s essential that you use the most accurate and relevant data you can find.
From our extensive work in the cloud services industry, Open-i Advisors knows the best data sources to use for your business decisions. In this article, we want to share those data sources with you. But first…
Why Use Data-driven Decision Making?
As human beings make observations over time that help them make better decisions. But there are limits to our human cognition – whether it’s being able to accurately remember sales figures for the past 20 quarters, or to figure out what complex variety of conditions lead to different business outcomes. Data helps us essentially extend our natural decision making capabilities.
Data driven decision making is important for any company in any industry, but it is especially important for industries growing as quickly as cloud services. Trends are constantly changing and, in order to manage your company’s growth in the midst of change, you need to pay attention to your surroundings.
Luckily, when you are working in an industry that is technology-based, there is a significant amount of macro data available, including data about the entire industry down to the micro perspective on each data transfer. So, what data should you look towards in order to make the most informed decisions?
Broadly speaking, you should be collecting and reviewing data from your company, your competitors, and your industry as a whole, to make sure that you have a full understanding of where you stand. Your company data helps you understand where you are right now, your competitors’ data helps you understand where you otherwise could be, and your industry data helps you understand trends and better plan for the future.
If you understand the trends, you understand the market opportunities. You also understand the threats to your industry and have a stronger sense of how to navigate them.
Data Sourcing Recommendations
When looking at data sources, it is important to consider the reliability of the data and its actionability. Without this combination, you will either be left staring at numbers without any next steps or left taking actions that might lead you down the wrong path.
Each of the below sources were selected because the underlying research and data-collecting methodology are strong and because the information is relevant to the decisions made within the cloud industry. As you examine other data sources, it is important to make sure that they meet the criteria of reliability and actionability as well.
The cloud industry is wide ranging. There are many segments of the industry that are important to examine and the following recommendations should give you a strong jumping off point:
- Data Centers and Hyperscale Cloud – Structure Research and Rightside
- Domain industry – Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief
- Cybersecurity – Cisco Cybersecurity Series
- Tech Ops / Development – StackOverflow Developer Survey
- Global Internet Development – ISOC’s Global Internet Report
See a more in depth overview of these sources and some suggestions on how to interpret the data in the first 20 minutes of the video below:
Using Your Data
How you use your data is as important as the data itself. The relationship between your goals and your data should be circular. Your goals should inform how you interpret data and in turn data should influence your goals. Don’t just track any key performance indicators (KPIs), first make sure that they are the right KPIs to track.
Use the data you collect to answer questions that you have about your business and the future. Compare how you are doing to other companies and the industry as a whole and see if the data available can help you predict what your numbers might look like, if you stay on course or if you attempt a new strategy.
What you learn from the data you collect will inform not just your decisions, but your overall direction.
If you lean into the data, you can see where the market is heading.
Innovate, execute, grow.
Be mission driven, but do it by the numbers.
At Open-i Advisors, we provide our clients with data-driven growth strategies, action-oriented insights, and go-to-market plans that lead to business transformation. We specialize in helping companies navigate growth and change.