Writer: KEHINDE OGUNDARE, Country Manager, Zoho Nigeria
Running a business in Nigeria can be an arduous task. Business owners face fierce competition as they strive to secure market share, acquire new customers, and enhance their productivity and profitability.
That business environment is getting more competitive. According to World Bank data, 97,988 new businesses were registered in Nigeria in 2020 (the last year for which numbers are available).
The country’s rapidly accelerating tech sector provides further evidence of that increased competitiveness. A report from McKinsey found that the number of startups in Nigeria and other African companies grew threefold between 2020 and 2021.
The growth of a business, whether it offers a product or service, is closely linked to its customer base. In order to remain competitive and retain these customers, it is crucial to use data-driven insights to inform business decisions and facilitate a successful customer experience.
Understanding data analytics
In the simplest terms, data analytics is about making sense of all the data that a business gathers, and using it to help the business improve its decision making or to gain insights into a particular subject or problem.
It enables entrepreneurs to make profitable decisions, drive innovation, anticipate market trends, and manage budgets. However, a report by KPMG that analyzed the usage of data and analytics in Nigeria’s business environment reveals that 56% of organizations in Nigeria base their decision making on intuition rather than data. This shows that businesses are yet to grasp the true potential that data can bring to decision making.
Another report highlights that, on an average, organizations plan to spend at least N50 million annually to develop data and analytics capabilities, indicating potential for businesses seeking to integrate these practices. However, just 16% of organizations have a defined role for their Chief Data Officer, and many merge data analytics responsibilities with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), highlighting a talent gap.
Finding the right solution
A strong BI platform can gather data from across different software used by different departments such as sales, marketing, finance, and inventory to help the user make sense of the data through simple-to-understand charts, graphs, and other visual tools. This, in turn, facilitates strategic decision making.
Zoho, for example, provides a robust BI solution that comes with self-service data preparation and augmented analytics. It has strong AI/ML capabilities, enabling users to use natural language commands such as “show me our revenue growth last quarter” to get charts showing just that. Zoho Analytics can also be embedded in any third-party software so users do not have to log into a new app just to view reports.
In today’s world, where there is high competition for customer attention among businesses along with organizational operations driven by technology, data analytics enables a business to optimize performance, and make data-driven decisions.
Having real-time insights into how their business is performing and the current market trends can help business owners adapt to the fast-changing landscape and stay relevant.