As the supply chain continues to be modernized through digital transformation, both distributors and manufacturers need to understand and leverage collected data. By utilizing both structured and unstructured data to unlock valuable insights into customer purchasing patterns and promote operational efficiencies in the supply chain, organizations can capture a competitive advantage.
The biggest repository of customer data, which can inform strategic decision making, resides in the digital touchpoints they use to interact with the business, such as their e-commerce platform. Despite the increased use of e-commerce platforms, email remains the preferred customer purchase order method, with over 74% of orders being placed via this channel. While email provides much of the data that can help an organization make informed strategic decisions, this data if often unstructured so many choose to ignore it, rather than attempt to interpret it.
It’s predicted that 93% of all data will be unstructured by 2020, so by disregarding it, organizations run a grave risk of missing valuable market insights. This could have a drastic impact on identifying the opportunities to boost sales, improve customer service and benefit business growth.
What is unstructured data?
Traditionally, structured data is categorized as data which can be easily identified, collated and analyzed by analytic tools, such as customer contact information. Unstructured data on the other hand is unorganized and can present itself in many forms, such as documents, emails and web pages. The contents of unstructured data are usually much more difficult to comprehend due to its length and complexity and can therefore not easily be categorized by traditional tables or tools.
Unstructured data has the potential to unlock key business insights and ultimately drive business value and efficiency. Due to its complex nature, many businesses opt to ignore unstructured data even though they are missing out on important customer information. Utilizing technology to support this analysis will benefit not only business growth and development but will improve customer experience.
Both data formats work together to provide the business with a comprehensive view and understanding of the customer experience and information by enabling customer profiling. Analysis of this data can support making key business decisions and help improve business efficiency and operations as a whole.
Unlock business potential
Unstructured data can provide a plethora of data and a thorough analysis into business practices. Through analyzing unstructured data collected through channels such as email, organizations can reveal customer purchasing patterns, such as transaction preferences and timing of order placements. Decision makers can then utilize this information to both boost sales, better target customer buying habits, and reduce costs through more strategic inventory management and resource allocation.
With the right tools, unstructured email data can be instantly analyzed to deliver a true view of customer activity and insight into the cost to serve. Through technology adoption and ongoing digital transformation, businesses can unlock the power of unstructured data and convert this information into digestible and actionable insights.
Capitalize on insights
Unstructured data is the key to gaining valuable insight into a distributor and manufacturer’s customer base. However, the real challenge lies in analyzing this information and transforming it into actionable business insights that deliver concrete results. The business acumen gained from unstructured data can be applied across the supply chain to benefit an array of business functions. This includes the enhancement of customer profiles to deliver unparalleled customer experience, generate a more accurate sales forecast and strategically stock inventories based on sales history.
Data is most beneficial when used in tandem as both structured and unstructured data can deliver actionable insights into business operations. By harnessing both forms of data, decision makers can develop a comprehensive overview of the business and its customers. Ultimately, by analyzing unstructured data businesses can garner an increased understanding into the needs of individual customers. This in turn can help in strategic decision making and contribute to increasing market share and profitability in the face of ongoing industry consolidation.