This is a guest post for Integrate.io written by Bill Inmon, an American computer scientist recognized as the "father of the data warehouse." Inmon wrote the first book and first magazine column about data warehousing, held the first conference about this topic, and was the first person to teach data warehousing classes. 

Our 5 key points:

  1. Ecommerce companies think that more data equals more business value, but this isn't the case.

  2. Not all data is equal, and some data sets won't provide you with any value at all.

  3. You can find value in big data by listening to and analyzing your customers.

  4. Be wary of vendors who say their software solutions provide ongoing business value.

  5. Integrate.io is a data warehousing solution that helps you find value in data sets by choosing the right data for analysis.

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More data means more business value, right? It’s an idea that seems so simple, so intuitively obvious. There is a basic thought process that goes something like this:

  • If x data -> y value
  •  then n * x data -> n * y value

What this simple idea says is: If it takes x units of data to produce y units of value and you have n * x units of data, you can produce n * y units of value.

Or, more data = more business value. 

It just seems like this relationship ought to be true. But this proposition is a mirage. It looks good from afar, but the closer you get, you find it simply is not true at all.

Table of Contents

  1. Is Data Created Equal?
  2. How to Create Business Value from Data
  3. Finding Value in Big Data
  4. Don't Always Listen to Vendors
  5. How Integrate.io Helps You Find Business Value

That’s because some data has business value and other data does not. Ecommerce retailers need to realize this when moving data to repositories, analyzing that data, and using it to make critical business decisions.  

Integrate.io is a data warehousing integration solution that helps you find your most valuable data sets for Ecommerce analysis. Use it to move data to a central repository via ETL, reverse ETL, and super-fast CDC. 

Is Data Created Equal?

Forget everything you’ve been told: Not all data is the same. Even if you gather zillions of units of data, you are not going to necessarily end up with lots of business value for your Ecommerce organization. Gathering and managing huge amounts of data with limited business value will definitely not lead to a lot of business value.

So, if data volume doesn’t lead to business value, what data-related factors do?

This is a complex, multifaceted question. In fact, there are multiple factors that relate to properly assessing the value of business data.

How to Create Business Value from Data

Think about all the Ecommerce data that flows in and out of your organization. Some of it might come from a transactional database, relational database, or customer relationship management (CRM) system. Other data might come from social media platforms or SaaS tools. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How current is the data? Remember, data loses value as it ages. The more current the data, the greater the chance that it has business value.
  • How detailed is the data? Certainly, summarized data is interesting. But to understand summarized data, you must have — as a backup — the supporting details.
  • How close is the data to the business transaction? When an Ecommerce company is trying to sell a new television, the price and general characteristics of the TV are much more important than the material used to make the screen or remote control.
  • How close is the data to the thoughts and attitudes of the customer? Measuring sales is an interesting concept. But it analyzes customer attitudes indirectly and after the fact. Much more interesting is the reasoning of the customer behind the sale. Understanding thoughts and attitudes is direct and can be done before customers make purchasing decisions — exactly the time when they form their opinion of the market.
  • How relevant is the data? An organization’s direct sales data are much more useful than the GNP forecast for the nation for the year. Some indirect data is indeed interesting but is only tangentially useful to the corporation.
  • How close is the data to the company's operations? As a rule, operations data is usually more valuable than less directly involved data, such as human resource data. (Now this is not to say that human resource data is not important for an Ecommerce organization with more than several employees. It is. But for making important business decisions, operational data has higher business value than human resource data.)

Finding Value in Big Data

There has been much ado about big data. Indeed, big data has its place and its usage. But one of the basic reasons why Ecommerce retailers buy and sell this data is the misconception that the more data you have, the more business value you have. And that simply is not true, as the world is finding out now.

If you are searching for business value, a much more productive place to find it is in the thoughts and attitudes of your customers and prospect base. That is where the future of business value lies — not in the ability to store and manage huge amounts of data.

And where do you find the thoughts and attitudes of the customer/prospect? Some good places to look are:

  • In your call center: What is your customer saying to sales and customer service reps in your call center?

  • On the internet: There are many sites that illustrate customer sentiment about Ecommerce products, such as Google Reviews, where you can learn what customers think about your brand.

  • In email: Sometimes, raw emotions pour out in email messages. You can learn what pain points customers have and how to solve them.

  • On social media: Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or another social network, you can analyze customer perceptions toward your Ecommerce brand with a few clicks of a button.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Don’t Always Listen to Vendors

Software vendors exist to sell you something. So, don’t get hung up on a vendor’s fancy sales pitch about how much data a particular product can process, manage, or analyze. Remember, information shared with you is in the best interest of the vendor, not your Ecommerce organization. Instead, think for yourself. You decide where the value in your business's data hides. Then go after it.

How Integrate.io Helps You Find Business Value

The New Data Warehouse Stack for Tomorrow’s Leaders

Low-code data warehouse tools & hundreds of connectors to unify your data & reporting

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Data-driven Ecommerce companies use Integrate.io to generate incredible business insights from data. This platform lets you move high-quality and informative data sets to a central repository for analytics without any coding or complicated big data pipelines. It does this via ETL and reverse ETL — both with super-fast CDC.

Integrate.io comes with out-of-the-box connectors that sync with the most popular data warehouses and data lakes, eliminating the pain points typically associated with moving data with business value from one location to another. Its philosophy is simple: To remove the jargon and technicalities typically associated with integration. 

Other Integrate.io benefits include superior customer service, streamlined pricing, compliance with data governance legislation, and Salesforce-to-Salesforce integration. 

Integrate.io helps you find data sets that generate ongoing business value, helping Ecommerce companies like yours make smarter decisions.  Schedule a demo to learn more.

Bill Inmon, known as the father of the data warehouse, has authored 65 books, and Computerworld named him one of the ten most influential people in the history of computing. Inmon’s company, Forest Rim Technology, is based in Castle Rock, Colorado, and helps companies hear the voice of their customers. See more at www.forestrimtech.com.