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How to harness the power of data: Insight from a data CEO

Author: Laura Ballam


In our previous blog, From Wrestling Dreams to Data-Driven Success: A CEO's Journey, we shared the story of Bill Bruno, our illustrious CEO, and his journey to becoming a CEO. Now, thanks to the same great podcast from Dataversity, we’re sharing his uncensored take on all things data!

As a reminder, Bill’s clear definition of data is “Something that's usable.” Because if you’re not using it, you’re wasting time. Let’s dive into how a seasoned-data-analyst-turned-CEO harnesses the power of data:

Q: As a CEO, how do you work with data? What's important to you? And how do you use it? Aside from being at the core center of your own product, how are you using it in your daily work?

A: In all three instances where I've run businesses, wherever possible, every decision needs to be data-driven. But you've got to bring in the right people across the business that buy into that approach, buy into that culture, and find ways to easily automate these things to get the right information to the right people. Because it's not just me that's going to need data on a daily or weekly basis, it's my head of professional services and delivery, my CFO, my CIO, my VP of Marketing, HR. Every single team needs to have that data-driven culture embedded and understand that value of data is how we're going to make decisions. Every campaign or idea that gets thrown my way, I'm happy to test them but we have to have a plan in place that clearly defines what success looks like, so we can work back from that and decide what data we need to measure that success and then make sure the systems we put in place do that.

I'll be very honest with you, I've only been CEO of Celebrus for about two years now. And when I joined and the new CFO joined with me at basically the same time, the first assessment we made was that there weren't enough systems or in some cases, any systems in place, to really help bring that data-driven philosophy across the business to help empower our leadership and their management teams to use data in the right ways. That has always been a passion of mine, I think I will always be a data analyst at heart, and there are things I see daily, weekly, so on and so forth, that are used to help guide the direction of the business.

Q: Let's dive deeper into the power of data. How do you see data transforming industries and driving business success?

A: Data has become the lifeblood of businesses today. It's no longer just a byproduct or something to be stored away - it's a strategic asset. Organizations that understand how to harness and leverage data are the ones gaining a competitive edge. Data-driven insights help companies understand their customers better, personalize experiences, optimize operations, and drive innovation. From marketing and sales to supply chain management and beyond, data is transforming industries by enabling smarter decision-making and more targeted strategies.

Q: With the increasing complexity and volume of data, how can companies ensure they're making the most of their data assets?

A: That's a great question. Making the most of data assets requires a holistic approach. First and foremost, organizations need to establish a strong data foundation by investing in robust data management practices, including data governance, data quality, and data integration. This ensures data is accurate, consistent, and accessible.

Additionally, companies should embrace advanced analytics and AI technologies to extract valuable insight from their data. This includes employing machine learning algorithms, predictive modeling, and data visualization tools to uncover patterns, trends, and opportunities. By combining the right technology with skilled data professionals, businesses can unlock the true potential of their data assets.

Q: Wise advice! Now, let's shift gears and talk about the future of data. What trends or innovations do you see shaping the data landscape in the coming years?

A: The data landscape is constantly evolving, and there are a few key trends and innovations that I believe will shape its future. First, the rise of real-time data processing and streaming analytics will become increasingly important. Organizations need to capture and analyze data as it happens to enable instant decision-making and personalized experiences.

Another trend is the growing focus on data privacy and security. With regulations like GDPR and the increasing awareness around data breaches, businesses must prioritize data protection and build trust with their customers. This means implementing robust security measures, obtaining consent for data usage, and adopting privacy-centric practices.

Lastly, continued advancements in AI and machine learning will revolutionize how businesses leverage data. AI-powered analytics tools will become more sophisticated, enabling automated insight generation and predictive capabilities. This empowers organizations to make data-driven decisions faster and more accurately.

Q: Exciting times ahead for the data landscape, indeed. Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or advice for aspiring data professionals?

A: Absolutely, Shannon. My advice to aspiring data professionals is to never stop learning. The field of data and analytics is continuously evolving, and staying updated with the latest trends, technologies, and best practices is crucial. Look for opportunities for professional development, attend conferences, join industry communities, and take advantage of online learning resources. Embrace a growth mindset and be willing to adapt and expand your skills.

Additionally, don't underestimate the power of collaboration. Data is a team sport, and working together with diverse professionals, such as data scientists, engineers, and business stakeholders, can lead to richer insights and better outcomes. Finally, always keep the ethical use of data in mind and strive to use data for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole.

"Remember, data is the new currency, and those who can unlock its power will thrive in this data-driven world."

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