Data Driven Decisions – Why Businesses Fail to use Data

When we were kids, we were told not to touch the hot boiling kettle. For some of us, we heeded those warnings from our parents, and for some of us… we went ahead and touched the hot kettle. We all learn and decide on our actions in very different ways. However, why is it that despite having these data; or warnings of the hot kettle,… we still proceed in touching the HBT (Hot Boiling Kettle)?

1. Don’t know what data is need. Often time when it comes to a business environment, a lot of things seems far more complex compared to just touching a HBT. Identifying what data holds ground in your decisions may fall into 3 categories –  Goal, Change, Growth.

Goal – Focus on learning data on driving your business closer to it’s goals.
Change – Define gaps and areas of business improvements.
Growth – Actionable and predictive data to build reach for Goals.
*More on this in a future post.

The key is to identify data needed to reach each of your business Goals; what gaps can be seen to build that Change and what action and predictive data can push you towards the Goals.

2. Data is not at hand when needed. When we walk into that meeting room, often times we don’t go in prepared with the data we need, and most likely, need for data might suddenly appeared during the meeting and we might not have it well prepared. It is very important to have these data at hand to get quick actionable data.

Years ago when I was in Product Marketing for a Japanese Consumer Product, we had yearly discussions about what product we would like to bring in for each country. We would prepare our past sales data to help us decide on our future product, however during each meeting there is bound to be something new – A new colour, a new feature. This lead to a lot of speculation on our side as we did not have data at hand when it was needed.

3. Data is not fresh.  The HBT won’t stay hot forever (unless you leave it on the stove). Data has it’s own validity period and often data slides on a lot of factors like period of time, events and individuals. Getting Data is just like getting a Hot Lead, it’s good when it’s fresh or relevant.

Trends can change in a blink of an eye. Towards the end of last year, Perodua released a new Myvi which had features worth drooling over for it’s price range. This release, shook up the whole lower price segment cars and also the imported B-segment cars which were in a far higher price range. The Proton took this as an opportunity, and started marketing their similar price range model directly to Myvi clients, pulling part of the Perodua’s attention back to Proton.

Another example for this is when looking at Car Buyers who are interested in buying a new car. One would like to assume that during festive seasons in Malaysia like Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and Christmas would bring in high number of sales. However, this is true partially as depending on the year and the economic situation, Hari Raya tends to has far more car buyers compared to Chinese New Year.

4. Assuming numbers are just numbers. The worse case to be in is having the numbers, but not knowing what to do with it. One of the biggest challenge to implementing Data Driven Decisions is the bring meaning to data. Sometimes it could be a simple as organising the data into bite sized chunks while other times it could be mixing and matching several data sets together.

Regardless of which, I believe it should always start with the Goal in mind. By placing the goal forward, it not only gives us direction of how the Data could be sorted but also gives us visibility to the gaps we need to fill.

 

Labelling that the kettle is always hot might not be the right way to go around it, nor should one person completely avoid touching the kettle at all because it is hot. But it’s about having data at hand to tell you how long it would take to cool down, where is the right place to hold the kettle and what can you make with the kettle.

We collect data all the time throughout our day. Making use of that Data might seem daunting at first, but it’s a good start to have.  At the start of the day, we all want our cup of coffee, and to get that coffee we need to pick up that kettle and boil some Data.

For more info for Automotive Data in Asia, do check out http://icardata.icarasia.com

You and Who You Want To Be.

There is this grey area which a lot of us fall into. We have aspirations and goals to be someone, achieve something or be known for our acomplishments.  There is this tension between who we are right now, and who we want to be which often times causes us to be blind to what we have achieved thus far.

Looking back at the past few months, time went by so fast that my mind still thinks it is early May, but in fact it’s coming to the last week of the month. There has been much changes; new tensions strings added, extra load added and a new higher horse powered engine added, however even after all that, I’m still in a state of tension of being between who I am and who I want to be.

It is only when we take a step back, stop for a moment to organise all these thoughts and look back at the journey we have embarked on we actually see how far we have left our grounds, but it’s only when we acknowledge are already here… only then we are who we want to be.

Acknowledging success is one of the most difficult things to do as often times we expand our aspirations and goals as we grow, but that does not mean you’ve not become who you’ve wanted to be.

If you are Early, you are On Time!

“If you are early, you are on time.
If you are on time, you are late.
If you are late, you’ll be left behind”
-Quantum Education Group

I think one of my biggest pet peeve is being late. Not only do I get very agitated if I’m late myself, but if others are late as well. Thinking of each minute that goes by being late just crawls up my spine and stabs me each second tick of the clock. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration

One of my early job was with Quantum Education Group where I got that quote from, I find it very true.

If you are early, you are on time.
Being early gives you the time to prepare yourself before the meeting. Sometimes it’s just to get that cup of coffee before the meeting to chill, sometimes it’s setting up the projector before the meeting. However, being early gives you all those opportunities and sets you at the right state of mind before the start.

If you are on time, you are late.
If your meeting starts at 10.30am and you reach banging open the door at 10.30am, you are late. All the preparation time goes out the window and you’ll have to start immediately. There’s a reason why Google Calendar reminds us about our meetings 10min before it starts.

If you are late, you’ll be left behind.
Time waits for no man, and so should anyone. Everyone has 24 hours a day, and getting someone to wait for you is literally saying that your 24 hours is more important than theirs when they wait for you.

I do understand the current trend where employees believe in flexible hours, however maybe the old dog in me still believes in starting work early before time starts. Get ready for the work day and then start.

Data Driven Decisions: Power of Intent

In the era of Big Data and huge chunk of consumer information; making the most effective decision to reach the target customers of choice has never been this effective with Intent Data.

For a long time, marketing teams have been using demographics as a proxy for people who might have somewhat of an interest in products. However, research have shown that if marketing is done base on demographics, marketers are at risk of loosing more than 70% of their potential customers (Millward Brown Digital, 2015).

An example to look into is that if we were to think of foot ball customers. Demographics of which would probably look Male dominated and a fairly young age. However, are there females who like foot ball as well? will there be people of junior years interested in foot ball.  If we take a step back and look at intent instead, we look at people interested in foot ball regardless of demographics.

This is alarming because to date, many big organisation still rely on demographic data to make decisions.

In iCarAsia, we are currently working on building up our iCarData – Asia’s Automotive Big Data source which provides intent data on multiple stages of a car buyer. Knowing that car buyers take time in deciding a car, each stage of a car buyer portraits a different intent which needs to be fulfilled.

For more info about iCarData, visit: http://icardata.icarasia.com/

 

Why do you wake up in the Morning?

The question “Why do you wake up in the morning?” is a question toss up so frequently when asking someone about the self-purpose of an individual. However, 8/10 times people would say that they wake up because they need to earn a living. Not that the answer is given is wrong, but often times surface level reasoning does not dictate a person’s self-purpose.

When looking into our own self-purpose, it is often like peeling opening layers and layers of onions before you can find that sweet center.

Sure, we all want to make a living, but what do you make a living for? If that’s the reason you work so hard to earn a living, why is that important for you?

One easy technique created by Taiichi Ohno – the father of Toyota’s Production System which was built to determine the root cause and effect is the 5 Whys.

Why do you wake up in the morning? Because the alarm clock rang and I had to go to to work.
Why do you go to work? To earn a living and pay for my bills.
Why do you need to earn a living? Because the are other people dependant on me.
Why are people dependant on you? Because I want them to be able to live a comfortable life, better than what I had before. 
Why is that important to you? It’s something which I did not have in the past, but I believe I can create a better life for others.

It’s far more than just asking “Why? Why? Why?”, but is asking it purposefully until a self-purpose is found.

Looking at the surface answers can often be very demotivating. Nobody should wake up in the morning thinking that their sole purpose is only to go to work. Wake up because, you are creating something align to your self-purpose.

It is important to find out our Self-Purpose to not only give us a compass in our lives, but to give us the burning fire to live our lives to it’s best.

Late Night Swimming – 4 Lessons in Goals

Lately I’ve been taking a liking towards swimming in the evening. Something about the dark, cooling and quiet atmosphere which just gives a sense of calm and relaxation. Part of which, I do take time to count the amount of time I spend in the pool by the number of laps as well as bench mark it compared to my previous swim… and by all means, I’m quite poor at my laps.

However, that ONE lap seemed like an eternity when I first started swimming and I started wondering when it would end. Breath by breath I could only see what blur of a vision of what’s in front of me. I started counting each stroke as if knowing at stroke 100, I would have arrived at the end… hopefully still breathing.

But that’s the same thing in lift isn’t it? We all have life goals, aspirations and dreams and often times it seems so far fetch.

1. Pace yourself. The first time I got in, I wanted to be fast and killed myself half way through. Don’t rush through the process, but enjoy and learn from it. The reason that path is there heading towards your goals is so that we grow into our goals. Rushing creates friction, friction creates fire, fire can be good… just don’t burn out.

2. Small Goals. The big goal is a mile away, and we need smaller milestones to for 2 main reasons – 1) To make sure we are heading to the right direction. 2) Small wins to keep us motivated. Nobody wants to swim half way through to only know that they got nowhere.

3. Trust the 2 meters. We can’t always see far into the future. Most often, we can come up with plans and not always would the follow through. That’s just life and that’s where we always need our small goals and adjust accordingly as we move forward in life, but while in it… trust and move forward.

4. Celebrate wins. Always take time to celebrate a win, no matter how small it is. It could be just a rest to enjoy the view or a cup of coffee in the morning or go for that vacation you’ve been longing for. Life is too short to be always swimming, sometimes all we need is to just take a break and enjoy the breeze.

 

Since we were kids, there is always that BIG END GAME we would look forward to, may it be the UPSR exam or the SPM exam or getting the Degree, and it’s something somewhat engrained in us, and that’s where an extra…

5. There is always lap 2. Don’t worry that you won’t know what to do next after you’ve reached your goal. There’s always another mile in front and another mountain to climb.

 

Post Malaysia Elections

I can’t be the only one who is going through “Political Drama Fatigue”.

It’s been a very long past few days with lots of ups and downs for Malaysians, however I think it’s about time I switch off and trust the government we’ve voted in to do their job and check on it once in a while or after the 100 day promise date. After all, life goes on, time to focus back on our lives, goals and aspirations. Time waits for no man.

Malaysia started it’s change, now let’s make sure we keep up.

For those who are called the New Government out for not removing GST, PTPTN, or dropping the fuel prices instantly, bare in mind that it took us this long to get here. Our country has gather a staggering RM648,341,821,357 and growing debt during the past few years. It would take some time to recover from it. Have some trust and faith.