The 20 Item Checklist for Evaluating if Your Business is Embracing Big Data

During these past months, I came across a great number of customers who were constantly asking me whether they were thinking about Big Data correctly. While we all believe in the power of Big Data, embracing it means more than simply signing up for another SaaS product that gives you better data visualization or simply looking to Google Analytics for information about your website transactions.

In order to help everyone better understand where their own organization stands, I came across a very good checklist (by Duke University professor and Big Data expert, Daniel Egger) that I think is applicable to most companies/industries.

Is your company embracing the big data culture correctly? Follow the checklist to find out:

Note: This checklist has a total of 20 items. 19 items are relevant to product companies and 14 items are relevant to service companies.

☐ Website for mobile and tested for optimized load times

Does your company use a mobile-optimized version for website (responsive design)? Is the site tested for rapid loading times in all markets with wordwide mobile loading times under 2 seconds. If there is high traffic from remote locations, does the site use Content Delivery Networks for Edge-Cashing for rapid page-load times. Can you buy products/services from mobile apps (Android and IOS applications) as well as the web?

☐ Track visitor’s click-stream

Do you track your visitor’s full click-stream (the exact path through the website)? Do you track the time spent at each point rather than just count the unique visitors and page views?

☐ Two -step conversion

Do you define conversion of new website visitors in two steps:

  1. Individuals register in the website by providing name and email, and
  2. individuals become revenue generating customers.

☐ A/B Testing ongoing

Do you perform ongoing A/B testing of site features to optimize rates of conversion to revenue?

☐ Know how to achieve and maintain a high Google Adrank

Is your ad content and web site landing page text factual and relevant to AdWords?

☐ Know the maximum price per click-through for web advertising that is profitable

Are you tracking realistic estimates for FLV (Future Lifetime Value of a new customer), click-through rates, and conversion-to-revenue rates in order to permit setting an upper bound on profitable Max CPC (Cost per clickthrough) to bid for AdWords?

☐ Web based incentives

Do you give customers a meaningful and effective incentive to interact with the company online between store visits? Ideally, make real-time, online promotional offers to individuals based on a preference analysis of their specific history. An example would be targeted promotional offers specifically for those who register online.

☐ Track all interactions with customers

Are you constantly tracking sales, purchases at the SKU level (online or in store), support calls and complaints, returns, and web interactions under a single customer ID, in a database? Do you have that information available on a just-in-time basis when your company interacts with a customer?

☐ Develop membership programs

Does your company have developed a paid recurring-revenue “membership” program that is attractive to a significant portion or to all customers (ie Amazon Prime).

☐ Point of sale incentives

Does your company have point of sale customization for additional products or services aimed at a particular customer’s past purchase interest when they check out. When completing a purchase, customers are offered coupons and other incentives to purchase again in the future — and offer is customized based on their unique purchase history.

☐ Rewards for high spend customers

Do you offer special programs to distinguish, reward, and retain the highest-level recurring revenue customers?

☐ Track churn and outreach to quiet accounts

Do you continuously track churn rates and follow up with special incentives to lure back customers who have gone quiet for a set period of time?

☐ Targeted last minute promotions for wasting inventory

Does your company offer effective price reduction and last-minute promotions to established customers to clear any inventory — such as hotel rooms and airline seats — that would otherwise expire?

For Product companies only

☐ Allow customers to “see” what is on the shelf on their local store as well as online

The web site shows accurate local store inventory with images and prices. (On a personal note, I recently went to Lowes with a shopping list of items that the website had deemed were in the store and they were not. I left the store without any of my items and, as a result, went to Amazon to purchase them. Lowes needs to do this better and it’s costing them real dollars).

☐ Allow customers to order ahead and pick-up in their store

Can customers can order ahead online and pick up at the most convenient physical store?

☐ Track SKUs at the store level

Does your organization track all SKU deliveries and sales patterns at the individual store level to prevent excessive inventory?

☐ Track all zero-inventory items to eliminate empty shelves

Does your organization track all SKU deliveries and sales patterns at the individual store level to identify “zero-inventory” items and avoid the opportunity cost of lost sales? In other words, perform research to identify products that customers might have wanted which are not currently carried.

☐ Inventory optimization models

Do you use a model that modified inventory levels at the store level by region, season, and day of the week to optimize days inventory against opportunity cost?

For Service companies only

☐ Same day and faster delivery

Collaborate with third party shopping and delivery services to allow same-day (or faster) door-to-door delivery of online purchases in order to compete with digital companies.

☐ Complete service as fast as a digital company

Make sure that whatever service is provided, you’re performing and completing the service delivery as fast as your online competitor. For example, if you’re a loan provider, does the person borrowing receive the money as fast as they do with your online competition?

I’ve included the following infographic so that you can print it and keep it in your organization to continuously check on your practices.

Scoring your company

Now that you have gone through the checklist, let’s score your company:

Product Companies

  • 16 or more out of 19: Very good to excellent
  • 14 out of 19: Good, but needs improvement
  • 11 out of 19: Passing but take a serious look at your practices
  • 10 or fewer out of 19: Lagging, you need to act quickly or you could soon fail

Service Companies

  • 10 or more out of 14: Very good to excellent
  • 8 out of 14: Good, but needs improvement
  • 7 out of 14: Passing
  • 6 or fewer: Lagging

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About Factivate:

Factivate is a software company part of the Google for Entrepreneurs community in Durham, NC. Factivate provides business users with a cloud-based data analytics platform that can sync with different online tools to create automated, real-time spreadsheet reports and web dashboards with just-in-time business reactions. The result of our intelligent spreadsheet is accurate data analysis that drives better business decisions while reducing manual spreadsheet report time and errors by a factor of 150+ hours/employee/year. Factivate requires no learning curve or programming knowledge. In sharp contrast to the complex and expensive business intelligence tools on the market today, if you know spreadsheets, then you know 95% of what you need to use Factivate–we’ve got the rest covered.