Will you develop good data habits in 2021?


There can be little disagreement that 2020 was a year of unexpected, and mostly unpleasant, surprises and disruptions.

Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com

Yet, speaking personally, as lockdowns changed the way we work and play, I found myself developing some good habits. In particular, as early lock down regulations restricted outside activity to early mornings I began taking early morning walks in the neighbourhood, a habit that I have kept up.

What started as a means to break the cabin fever of COVID regulations has had unintended and positive consequences – I have lost weight and am fitter than I have been in years.

For many of our businesses, COVID pushed us into survival mode. Strategic data management programs may have lost there way as we looked at how to keep our businesses functioning with reduced income (in many cases) and, at the same time, radically altered the way we work.

Yet, data underpins many of 2020’s survival strategies.

COVID accelerated digital adoption – both by pushing employees to work at home and by pushing customers to shop online. A study by the CMO Council found that poor digital experiences can drive consumers to switch brands. Traditional data management challenges – like siloed data – can result in customers having a poor experience.

We are also moving more data that ever before – both in widescale adoption of cloud, but also in supporting staff and customers working and shopping from home. We are in some instances hitting the limits of the infrastructure, and we are increasing the risk of a data breach. Our data strategies need to focus on both security and efficiency of movement.

Yesterday’s knowledge about consumer shopping patterns and behaviours have been rendered null and void. Businesses need to integrate current location intelligence to understand how consumer’s movements and buying behaviour have shifted. Physical outlets are still relevant – even if only through the halo effect. Omnichannel retail strategies need to re-evaluate current biases to ensure long term survival.

Somewhere in the middle of all this we saw the final implementation of the Protection of Personal Information Act.

We can see PoPI as a burden. Or we can see it as an opportunity to develop sound data habits

What good data habits will you develop in 2021?

Wishing you a happy and healthy new year.

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