It’s in a fast-changing environment that data really gets the opportunity to shine, says CoreLogic CEO Lisa Claes, with the insights it generates having the potential to deliver true customer value.
2017 was a year of curveballs, contrasts and contradictions. The housing market has continued to deliver for sellers, with capital gains reaching their peak earlier in the first six months. On the flipside, a recent slowdown in property growth has created an emerging ambiguity for homeowners, hope for homebuyers and cause to pause for many investors.
All this has taken place against a backdrop of regulatory change, increased housing supply juxtaposed against affordability challenges, and a steady cash rate.
In the absence of certainty, data is showing its true worth by providing a modicum of reassurance to those who are privy to the insights it provides. During periods of ambiguity, data is an increasingly powerful tool that can aid decision-making and assist with mental preparedness. So how will it influence the way we do business in 2018?
1. Data-influenced solutions
Our daily conversations are so often peppered with terms such as digital, data and analytics that we almost take them for granted. We know what they mean, but are we really using them to their full potential? The next 12 months will see businesses put this hypothesis to the test as they explore new ways to boost customer loyalty.
2018 will be about data recognition and also data execution. The focus will move to applying insights effectively and acting on opportunities to impact business growth. Retailers in particular have been using data analytics to influence buyer behaviour for quite some time, through tracking our shopping preferences, predicting our future needs and presenting us with tailored solutions but it has since delivered customer value in other sectors.
For example, Cordell Sum Insure has made it easier for homeowners to insure their property, through marrying CoreLogic property price data with other property attributes to present an accurate insurance quote for their customers.
In 2018, we should be seeing this trend permeate further into other industries and drive change in the way businesses operate.
2. Rethinking competitive advantage
It’s a sign of the times that customers are becoming more ‘slippery ‘and less loyal. They want easy access to a multitude of products and services and an end-to-end experience that delivers ease, control and time savings – all through a user-friendly digital interface.
In 2018 we’ll see businesses re-baseline the way they achieve competitive advantage, and change their operating models in response to customer behaviours. The rise of digital platforms such as Airbnb will offer a one-stop shop while at the same time delivering choice. To be considered by customers, businesses will increasingly need to partner with others.
Insights show that differentiation lies in the customer experience. We’ll be seeing more automation such as pre-filled forms that make it easier for customers to proceed, we’ll see a simplification of processes that save customers time, and we’ll see increased transparency in the way businesses operate to generate customer advocacy.
Successful companies will be those that invest in the experience – by looking at the data, recognising patterns and knowing how to create customer value.It’s within these realms that organisations will be sowing the seeds for growth in 2018, with the expectation that competitive differentiation will flourish.
3. Leading without borders
With customer preferences and behaviours in a constant evolutionary process, business leaders will need to adopt a similar pace and style to meet challenges head on.
In 2018, I predict more businesses will recognise the need to adopt their clients’ goals as their own – from having shared KPIs to re-organising the organisational structure to suit whatever customer challenges need to be addressed. From a leadership perspective, it will involve greater agility, and getting your team comfortable with less structured ways of working. Creating new teams quickly to execute projects, and disbanding them quickly once the project is completed need to become the norm. Chances are that people won’t stay in one role for an extended period anymore.
To facilitate this way of working, leaders will need to develop an increased sensitivity to their talent pool. They will need to recognise how people like to work, and consider how to get the best out of them. For the younger generation, it’s less about money, and more about the diversity of experience – something that can be achieved by adopting a more fluid operational model.
While executing in ambiguity appears to be a theme that will run throughout 2018 and beyond, it would be remiss of us to underestimate the value data can provide in being a steady constant throughout. Having a crystal ball in business may have been a pipe dream years ago, but data has brought future predictions of trends and behaviours closer to reality.