Data thinking is the holy grail of organic growth

Where does success come from? Nowadays, data thinking is a key component. It’s the culture that is responsible for SpaceX’s pioneering Falcon Heavy rocket launch as well as the secret behind hotels and bars remembering your favorite drink.

If there is anything that drives the most successful businesses right now, it is the clever use of data. Seen in this light, the acquisition by Basefarm of the Berlin-based The Unbelievable Machine Company (*um), the leading service provider for big data, cloud and managed cloud services in Germany and Austria, comes at exactly the right moment.

“Many of our customers are huge data owners. Data is the asset of the future,” explains Stefan Månsby, Senior Director of Product Management & Big Data at Basefarm. “European companies need to catch up with their North American counterparts. The big boys in Silicon Valley, such as Amazon and Google, are leading the race and there is nothing wrong with that. But some parts of Europe lag almost a decade behind when it comes to big data maturity. This needs to change.”

Great data leads to great ideas

Amongst many other industries, airlines and leisure companies will benefit greatly from having a 360-degree view of the customer. By gaining insight into customer behavior and needs, they can turn the customer’s next flight or stay into a ”super-tailored experience” because they already know the customer’s exact preferences. Even a result as simple as having your favorite drink waiting for you when you arrive at a hotel can make a big difference. But how do you get there as a company? You have to concentrate on data first, by putting all your data in one place.

“The first thing we recommend is what we call ‘data thinking’,” says Månsby. ” You provide the essential hard data so a company can make necessary decisions “Part of this is data science. You test hypotheses and either they make sense and get you the revenue, or they are a bad idea but you learn from it. By investing in such an agile culture, you can set yourself apart from your competitors and gain a market advantage. Focus on the idea of what you would like to do, not how you will technically solve it. The idea will make your business unique and a leader, not the technology.”

Elon Musk: solar panels, batteries, cars and rockets

A big difference between traditional business and business that relies on data thinking lies in the way they evolve. With the latter, this is far from linear. An example is a company that builds self-driving buses. Their core business is to make such vehicles but, once the buses are driving around in cities, the company can start a side business in traffic reports based on the data they have collected. The new revenue streams could potentially even make public transport free for passengers.

“Data thinking enables new opportunities,” Månsby says. “Look at Ikea. Data thinking has made it Sweden’s second largest food exporter. Another example is Tesla, their mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. Hence, they need to develop the ultimate battery and then apply them in great cars to prove their point. That’s amazing. As a data-thinking company, you have a big advantage over linear competitors.”

Do you want to know more:

Here you find our Data Thinking webinar recordings about AI:

About the Author

Stefan Månsby is Senior Director of Product Management & Big Data at Basefarm. He has a broad experience in the IT industry and has driven change in many organizations throughout the years. His main passion is digital innovation and he is a great photographer and music producer.