Data: Your Most Strategic Asset Drives Smart Decisions

Posted by Pedro Arellano, Director, Looker Product Marketing

Dec 14, 2020


Smart decisions are data-driven. Organizations with a data-driven culture use data as a strategic asset. They can improve decision making by capturing, cleaning, and curating meaningful data from across the business.

Decision-making comes to fruition when organizations make this harvested data widely available and actionable for employees to use in their day-to-day work.

Unsurprisingly, these data cultures have a high level of data literacy and encourage frequent quantifiable experiments from any team, whether they seek to improve customer experience with their digital storefront or to test new products in new markets.

data cultureThe learnings from these tests help take the guesswork out of optimizing processes, improving experiences and building new products and revenue teams. This sort of actionable insight and operational agility from a unified view of the business lets organizations focus on their competitive edge and continuously adapt and improve in today’s rapidly evolving digital environment.

According to McKinsey, results from their global survey showed that companies with the greatest overall growth in revenue and earnings receive a significant proportion of that boost from data and analytics. The time is right for developing a data strategy; others already have successfully started this journey.

Aspiring to be Data-driven is Not Enough

The advent of the cloud has brought about a complete revolution in data infrastructure by shifting the way organizations get value from data. Massive data sets and workloads have now moved to the cloud to improve cost efficiency, performance, and data management at web scale.

While organizations want to enable everyone to make better decisions, it is only possible if everyone can ask questions of the data, and get accurate answers without the risk of outdated or incomplete data, and without … waiting for it.

Brainstorm against business interface with graphs and dataBut for any organization to promote a successful data culture, it’s important to first implement a strong data strategy. Data strategies can help uncover ways to grow the business with data. It aligns the use of data with overarching business strategies.

It addresses both long- and short-term goals with specific and measurable objectives, and it offers a roadmap for managing data in a way that can benefit everyone at the organizational, departmental and individual task levels.

Organizations leading in the digital economy don’t use data simply to deliver reports; their data strategy includes infusing data in a tailored way into every part of the business, including employees, customers, operational workflows, products and services.

According to the 2021 Gartner CIO Agenda, organizations that have developed the capabilities to use digital to create deeper relationships with their customers and have increased the use of digital channels to reach customers or citizens are 3.5 times more likely to be top performers than trailing performers.

To build a data culture, leading organizations are turning to modern data analytic platforms that transcend traditional business intelligence (BI) and infuse data into operational workflows. They use integrated and flexible solutions that allow anybody in the company — no matter whether they’re technical or not — to view, explore, and act on data that helps solve business problems faster.

For these teams, real-time, relevant insights are delivered where people already work and serve as the starting point. From there individuals can ask more questions, solve problems, uncover opportunities and further close the gap between insights and taking action.

collaboration and using data to make decisionsFor example, one of our customers, a leading digital media company, was reaching hundreds of millions of people globally but had no comprehensive or real-time view into content performance to help drive business strategy. By modernizing their BI platform and integrating various data sources for a unified view, they were able to provide self-service analytics for digital content creators.

Now hundreds of employees are using data to get insights into the content they produce and improve the audience experience. This helped them to increase advertising ROI and spend for their customers.

Another Looker-powered data culture can be found at one of the UK’s largest automotive marketplaces. As they digitally transformed and moved to an online marketplace, they needed to make sense of the massive amounts of data they were collecting with 50m+ monthly web sessions

Their data strategy involved centralizing their data on BigQuery and creating a universal data model using the Looker platform to provide self-service analytics to their internal users. And they didn’t stop there…they seized the opportunity to use the same data to surface personalized recommendations to consumers and deliver actionable insights to their retailers.

By providing self-service access to trusted data, a third of the business is now making weekly data-driven decisions. And, by externalizing data, their sales team went from not having any metrics to having real-time insights that they can demo to their customers.

Data is Hugely Valuable

business people around tableThere is a significant opportunity cost of unused data and siloed information. Bad decisions, both large and small, often result from incomplete or inaccurate information. Data trapped in disconnected siloes, whether it is in a data lake, data warehouse or elsewhere across the organization, can also produce competing versions of the truth and result in “analysis paralysis.” As a result, the inefficient and data-deprived workforce wastes time and valuable resources and risks costly mistakes.

On the other hand, organizations that can put data to work in every functional part of the business have embraced a holistic view to inform their most important decisions — whether it relates to customer experience, revenue growth, marketing initiatives, operational processes or supply chain management. 

A San Francisco-based eCommerce company’s merchandising team uses data-driven insights from Looker to evaluate whether or not a product is a success. They implemented the use of connectors to get a complete view of marketing and customer data from various sources, such as Facebook Ad Insights, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Google Sheets, Klaviyo, Kustomer, and Shopify.

They centralized these disparate data sources in Google BigQuery and analyzed the information using Looker. As a result, the merchandising team can now make decisions about a product’s success in one-third of the time. This time savings translated into significant cost savings for how they measure product success.

Further, they are also able to predict customer lifetime value based on analyzing customer actions and optimize their marketing spend by investing in channels and pieces of content that lead to the highest-value customers.

How to Drive Smart Decisions with Data

Businesswomen at the Office Talking About Business Report on Paper.

Strategically using data as an asset can unlock its potential to create cost savings and new value streams. It helps make teams more data-driven by enabling employees to securely access the data they need in a manner appropriate for their role.

To foster a data-driven culture, start by developing a data strategy with the whole organization in mind, a clear understanding of what you hope to accomplish, and a plan for measuring your success. An actionable data strategy promotes not only efficient resource usage but supports an organization’s overall business strategy. Don’t silo data away from organizational goals and initiatives. Data and its accessibility need to evolve with your entire organization.

To learn more about how a modern BI platform provides a business-ready single access point to all of your company’s data visit:


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Pedro Arellano, Director, Looker Product Marketing

With more than 20 years of experience in the data & analytics industry, Pedro has a wide range of expertise in product marketing, product management, consulting, and technology services. He has led business intelligence implementations at retail, financial, and media companies and has appeared as a speaker at industry conferences across the Americas and Europe. He holds a Computer Engineering degree from ITESM in Monterrey, Mexico.

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