Business news is full of stories about big data transforming individual business and entire industries. Big data is an expensive proposition, how does a timeshare resort successfully use this technology in their business? Success in this case means achieving a desired ROI. It can be tempting to just go out and buy big data analytics software, thinking it will be the answer to your company’s business needs.
To answer that question, we will draw upon 8 years of practical experience analyzing data for various timeshare companies and examine three statements we often hear.
Then, we’ll share solutions that stem from our client’s successful use of data to make more informed business decisions.
Big data implementations are trendy, but your organization may not need it.
Practical Experience Truth:
Blogs and advertising are reporting that you should use big data in your timeshare business. As a savvy business person, you read about big data and it sounds like a great idea. We suggest that you take a look at what is already happening with regard to data in the organization. We have noticed a trend in the industry that data gets collected and then it is not truly managed well. It is a big job, and most current systems don’t do the job adequately. Secondly, the data often suffers from one or more of the following problems. It may be of poor quality, unverified, inconsistent, or even missing.
The first thing a smart manager does is focus on data analytics rather than “Big Data.” This manager receives a pdf report on Friday, but realizes a report is only part of the picture. The report details what is happened in the organization. This smart manager wants to look beyond the numbers on the page to see why those numbers exist and what they can do to change them. The manager knows that by using live data views they can see why performance is what it is, and then take steps to improve it.
Your organization thinks data analytics is the responsibility of IT, but your IT department is focused on other projects.
The goal of data analytics is to increase ROI and so the managing of the analytics tasks should be put in the hands of a business manager. Placing the burden of increasing ROI on the shoulders of your IT team is unfair.
Asking IT to be in charge of analyzing your data is like asking a medical surgeon to fly a Boeing 747 – each is an expert in their field, but not in each other’s. In business, we figuratively see a surgeon flying a Boeing 747. It is not fair to IT to assign them to analyze data for other departments, as they are not experts in those fields of business.
Practical Experience Truth:
If your IT department is anything like mine, they are quite busy and tasked with creating strategic solutions for your company. It would be a burden to ask them to create multiple variations of reports for various departments.
The purpose of analytics is to be timely. IT departments must juggle priorities created by multiple departments in any organization. For analytics to be truly effective, they need to be done in time to take action and benefit from the knowledge they provide.
In preparation for this article, we have tested this angle with IT professionals. Each IT executive we interviewed confirmed the barrage of requests for reports and welcome the idea of the business experts running their own reports. This would eliminate the report queue and allow IT to focus on strategic company goals rather than report writing.
We find true ROI by allowing decision-making managers access to the information they need want to make decisions. Give them the tools to see data in real-time and flip that information around in different angles to answer their “why” questions. They become powerful with what they know and they find they can act on ideas that improve performance in minutes instead of days, weeks, or months that are typical in timeshare.
There no direct return on investment in using big data for predictive analytics.
Practical Experience Truth:
Using big data for predictive analytics is expensive. Your marketing budget is likely stretched already. Why not use analytics to take a look at your current data first. If historically you have had a desired result 64% of the time, you already know that two out of three times you will have that desired result. This process is not predictive, it’s suggestive. Until you have great analytics working on your historical data, spending more money to get predictive analytics running is not your first concern.
It’s tough to rein in the enthusiasm for predictive analytics because we so want to believe it is possible! We believe the human condition to be unpredictable. We suggest you hold back adding expense to an already expensive marketing and sales process with little return.
Allow business expert managers access to an analytics system with historical data and reliable metrics and observe more informed decisions. Predictive analytics using big data is an expensive way to most likely arrive at the same conclusions you could reach by using currently available data analytics tactics. Not only that, but predictive models tend to be very focused on a single measurement (like propensity to buy). Give a manager access to historical analytics and they can use the current processes and information to make decisions not on propensity to buy, but on personnel performance, product configurations, financing options, gift offers, and many more.
These 3 reasons illustrate why timeshare companies should wait to invest in big data. We see the successful companies focused on making the information they already have work harder for them. They are successful in this by giving non-technical business experts the tools to see and then analyze the information they want to make more informed business decisions.