What is Data Collection and Why Do You Care?

Sama Team

March 30, 2018

6 Minute Read

Here at Sama, we live, breathe and eat data. While we do assist in data collection, most of the time clients come to us with data in need of enhancement, annotation, and more.

Where does the data come from? Well, data collection varies widely, so in this post we’ll look into the most common questions around this topic.

Data collection is a systematic strategy for gathering and measuring information from a variety of sources to get an accurate picture about a specific area of interest. The collection of various data points allows your company to answer specific questions, evaluate potential outcomes, and make predictions about future possibilities and trends.

Data is powerful. However, it’s not only about having the data, but also about knowing how to capture the right information — and then understanding how to use it effectively.

A decision based on data rather than intuition brings success rates up by as much as 79 percent. But what is data collection, what can you do with it, and what is the potential impact to your business?


Data Collection: Understanding Why It Matters

Successful businesses have always relied on some type of data. Yet the difference between businesses of the past and those of today is that the sheer volume of data available has rapidly expanded. Having more data empowers these leaders to tap into insights that were difficult to harness in the past.

But why is data collection so important? Here are a few of the major reasons.

Data is the backbone of solid decisions. Data arms you with the details required to make results-driven decisions. For example, let’s say that you need to restock inventory. One approach is to restock based on general insights and anecdotal details from sales staff. An even better strategy, however, is to tap into the data, gather insights and truly understand what is in short supply and any future trends that may make an impact.

Data assists with solving complex challenges. For example, let’s say that you’re planning an upcoming sales promotion and want to feature a specific product. An educated guess will tell you which product might be a good fit for a specific market segment, but data provides an even better option, one that is more accurate. Using analytics, you could view previous purchasing patterns and determine that preferences are leaning toward an entirely different product; performing this analysis saves you time and money.

Data assists with improving processes. Perhaps you want to understand why one department performs better than another. Data can help you dig deeper to get a more accurate picture of what’s going on with each department and the factors at play, and then come up with an effective solution so that other departments perform just as well.


What Type of Data is Most Important to Collect?

When you're trying to understand data collection, it helps to better define the pieces of information that must be gathered. The problem isn’t having enough data; there are vast amounts of data for your company to collect, harvest and use to gain valuable insights to run a more profitable business. So the question is actually what type of data do you want?

For example, let’s say that you own a retail store and you want to better understand how customers are moving through the store. Viewing the paths that customers take to purchase various products would allow you to more accurately anticipate customers’ needs and place the correct merchandising along those paths. Some companies even leverage data collected via GPS through apps in which customers consent to the collection, and the data is available to learn more about customers’ behaviors and preferences.

Or maybe you want to learn more about online shopping patterns for specific segments. For example, how many products and what types of products do customers look at prior to their final purchases? If so, you might collect data points along the buying journey to glean relevant insights and ultimately improve the customer experience.

Ultimately, the first step in deciding what data to collect is determining what you want to learn. Because there is a vast amount of data to collect, you must know which “bread crumbs” to follow; otherwise, you’ll be lost.


What are the Potential Benefits of Effective Data Collection?

The results of collecting, analyzing and gaining insights from big data are significant. For companies that use big data, 92 percent of executives report being satisfied with the results and 89 percent rate big data as very or extremely important. In fact, 89 percent of those surveyed in a report conducted by General Electric said that lack of big data adoption creates risk of losing market share.

The effects of accurately collecting the right data apply to a variety of business areas, such as customer service, which has the potential to create much stronger bonds between the company and the customer. For example, Delta Airlines uses big data to tackle one of the biggest fears of travelers: lost baggage.

The company checks over 130 million bags each year, and it also became the first airline that allowed customers to track luggage via their mobile devices. The tracking application has been downloaded over 11 million times and uses data to help customers relieve the anxiety that comes with the worry of losing important baggage.

This is just one example of the positive impact that data collection can have, but there are many more, all of which have the potential to create changes in a business that make customers feel truly known and improve your bottom line. In many cases, the data is already there, so all you must do is seek it out, glean insights from it, and start reaping the rewards.

If your company needs help with data collection, Sama is here for you.

Our services help our many clients achieve their business goals while also changing the lives of our workers, who earn a living wage and lift themselves out of poverty.

Contact Sama today to learn more about our data services.