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A Guide To Getting The Most From Digitalisation In Your Startup

A Guide To Getting The Most From Digitalisation In Your Startup

By New Frontiers blog

A Guide To Getting The Most From Digitalisation In Your Startup

In our recent blog, Use These Easy Time Management Skills To Help Run Your Startup, we looked at how you can try to gain extra time in your day through some simple time management tricks. Sometimes, though, time needs a bit more help and that means looking at digitalisation!

Digitalisation isn’t simply about automating time-consuming tasks. Yes, it can help to streamline your processes and workflows, but it also brings in benefits such as:

  • improved information security
  • more flexible access
  • easier collaboration and communication
  • better customer experience
  • greater transparency
  • fewer duplications
  • centralised insights for better decision-making

Let’s see what’s involved.

What is digitalisation?

First things first, what exactly is digitalisation? Surely every tech-savvy startup in 2023 is digitalised by default? Actually, not always. Even startups that code software for a living can find huge digitalisation gaps in their operations workflows or back-office procedures. That’s because good digitalisation doesn’t just happen, it’s a deliberate strategy and takes thought and planning.

Digitalisation means using the right combination of tools in a way that simplifies what you do across all your departments – sales, marketing, operations, accounting, etc. – and centralises data so that you have clarity over what’s happening in the business. Ideally, these tools will be integrated so that key data can move seamlessly between teams and it’s easy for colleagues to collaborate and communicate.

How do you make a start on digitalisation?

To see where you need to bring in digitalisation, or improve digitalisation, you’ll need to assess your business processes. Remember that as a startup grows, some of the tools being used will no longer be a good fit – you could be losing out on valuable data, missing opportunities to connect dots with other parts of the business, making teams work with clunky workflows, etc. So, I advise that you assess every workflow in the business, even if you think it’s already digitalised.

You’ll want to document your processes so you can see how they can be optimised. To do this, you could:

  1. Interview/survey employees at all levels of the organisation to understand how they complete their tasks and what processes they follow.
  2. Observe and document processes by watching employees as they complete tasks, documenting the steps they take.
  3. Identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies as you document processes, looking for areas where tasks are taking longer than expected or where there are delays in getting things done.
  4. Pinpoint opportunities for automation, because manual data entry is error-prone and many repetitive tasks can now be automated thanks to machine learning and AI.
  5. Find opportunities for connectivity either through better collaboration or by syncing data across your digital solutions.

This exercise is vitally important in a startup because you may have started witht just one or two people who did everything but now have entire teams in place for these functions. You will probably find they are working in a very different way now that everything has scaled.

The resulting documentation can take whatever form works best for you. The only requirement is that it is easy to understand and can be easily updated, because its crucial to keep process documentation up to date so that everyone works the same way and you can spot any inefficiencies that creep in.

Typical formats for documenting business processes and workflows include:

  • Flowcharts
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  • Work Instruction manuals
  • Process maps
  • Mind maps

Define what digitalisation tools you need

Now you have a clearer idea of how everyone is completing tasks, you can define your requirements for new digital tools. This is an important step in the process of selecting the right tools for your business. Some approaches you can use include:

  1. Look at business goals: Identify the specific business goals you want to achieve with the digital solution. This will help you focus on the features and functionality that are most important for your business.
  2. Explore pain points: What pain points (inefficiencies, delays, manual tasks, etc.) did you identify when documenting your processes that could be solved with the right digital tool? These could be pain points experienced by the team or by your customers/end-users.
  3. Discuss employee requirements: Talk to employees at all levels of the organisation to understand the challenges they face so that you can find solutions that align with their workflows.
  4. Research industry best practice: Take a look at best practice in your industry to understand what other businesses are doing and what solutions are available.

The end result of this process will be a document that outlines your specific requirements for a digital solution. It should include a clear statement of the business goals you want to achieve, the pain points you want to address, and the features and functionality that are most important for your business. It should also include any specific technical requirements, such as compatibility with existing systems, security requirements, GDPR compliance, etc.

Finding the right digital tools

Your documented requirements will help you evaluate the solutions in the marketplace and serve as a reference when you talk to software vendors, as well as the developer or internal team that will be implementing the solution. It can also be the basis for creating a request for proposal (RFP) if you decide to look for vendors that way.

Evaluating digital tools in the market can be a time-consuming task. Here are a few ways to tackle it:

  1. Research existing solutions: Before you start testing different tools, research the market to identify products that might be a good fit. Look for ones that are designed for businesses similar to yours and that address the specific needs you’ve identified.
  2. Use online resources and reviews: Many websites and blogs provide reviews and comparisons of different digital tools. These resources can help you get a sense of the pros and cons of different products without having to sign up for a trial.
  3. Ask for a demo: Lots of digital platforms and software solutions provide demos of their products, which will give you a sense of how the tool works and whether it’s a good fit for your business. Don’t be afraid to ask questions during the demo and ask for case studies of how the solution has been implemented in a business similar to yours.
  4. Sign up for a free trial: Plenty of platforms also provide free trials, which can help you test the tool in a realistic setting and see how it works in your business environment. Make sure you are testing the full product, though, as sometimes free trials only give you access to a ‘lite’ version of the solution.

Remember that digital solutions are constantly evolving, and new tools are being launched all the time. It’s important to regularly review the digital tools available and the workflows in place to make sure that the best tool is being used.

Of course, you could go through this process only to discover that you are already using the perfect tool for the function in question, which is great and still a valuable exercise. You could even find that your existing solution is the right tool, but you aren’t on the right plan and so not getting the range of benefits or functionality you need. A simple upgrade could eliminate many of the pain points identified.

Harnessing the potential of digitalisation

Sometimes the biggest wins in digitalisation come from the smallest improvements. It could be that you are using tools that are perfect for your needs, but each tool stands alone within the business. This can lead to two major issues:

Data isn’t syncing across the business

This could occur in a variety of ways, for example:

  • Your ecommerce solution doesn’t connect with your in-store inventory, so you don’t have real-time stock data online.
  • Your employee leave information isn’t available wherever you do your job scheduling, so you have to keep cross-referencing to check availability.

Multiple instances of the same data

This could occur in a variety of ways, for example:

  • Your marketing team and sales team have their own CRMs, meaning you have duplicate data and a high probability of inconsistencies/errors.
  • You create your quotes in your CRM, meaning you have to then input the same information again when you invoice in your accounting software.

The solution in these situations is to get your systems talking to each other. This starts by mapping the data in your business and where it is able to travel from one solution to another. Then you will be able to see where it isn’t being communicated between tools and look for ways to change that.

You could assess the connectivity of different software with:

  1. A data flow analysis: Visualise the flow of data between different tools and systems in your organization. Identify where data is being duplicated and where there are gaps in the flow of data.
  2. A data map: A map that shows the relationships between different data sets and how they are used across different tools. This also helps you identify where data duplication is happening and where there are gaps in the flow of data.

Your next task will be to find ways to integrate your tools or allow data to move between them. Sometimes you only need the data to move in one direction, other times you will need to ensure that data added, updated, or deleted in one system will sync through to one or more other systems.

Improving connectivity between your systems

One way to do this is with a data integration tool that connects different systems in order to automate the flow of data between them. You can also such a tool to bring key data through to a central dashboard for monitoring KPIs. Zapier and are two well-known examples, but there are many others and the one that’s right will depend on which tools you are trying to connect.

Another way is to use the Application Programming Interface (API) of your digital systems to communicate and share data, enabling seamless integration and automation. This is a really flexible and scalable way to improve connectivity, but you will need support from a developer if this isn’t your area of expertise.

Good digitalisation: key principles to remember

As you can see, digitalisation can greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of a startup, but it’s important to have a thought-out strategy. As you embark on your own digitalisation journey, don’t forget the key principles outlined in this blog: prioritise your goals, work on connectivity, and continuously monitor and maintain your integrations.

Don’t forget to implement data governance policies and procedures to ensure that data is accurate, consistent, and up to date across all systems. This includes creating guidelines for data entry, data validation, and data security. Regularly review the flow of data between different tools to ensure that they are working as intended and that data is accurate and consistent.

About the author


Scarlet Bierman

Scarlet Bierman is a content consultant, commissioned by Enterprise Ireland to fulfil the role of Editor of the New Frontiers website. She is an expert in designing and executing ethical marketing strategies and passionate about helping businesses to develop a quality online presence.

Using SaaS metrics and resources to bulletproof your startup’s growth

Using SaaS metrics and resources to bulletproof your startup’s growth

By New Frontiers blog

Using SaaS metrics and resources to bulletproof your startup’s growth

Understanding the health of your SaaS (Software as a Service) business is crucial, but you need to be looking at the right metrics to accurately measure it. This article brings together some of the excellent online (re)sources that are available to the startup software entrepreneur looking to deepen their knowledge of this area. 

This is my quick reference guide to the battle-hardened experts who’ve earned their scars in the SaaS trenches, and who wanted to make it easier for SaaS entrepreneurs like you and me as we follow intrepidly in their footsteps.

Where did I find these awesome resources?

Most of the resources I have come across were from experts I follow on Twitter – either blog posts they wrote themselves, or others that they recommend.

The articles here are applicable, in my view, for both very early stage startups in the search for Product Market Fit (PMF) from €0 to €1M annual recurring revenue, as well as post-PMF startups looking to scale from €1M annual recurring revenue upwards.

Why should you bother reading any of what I’m suggesting?

Firstly, all credit for the content must go to the various trail-blazing authors behind the linked articles, and I’d strongly recommend you to dig deeper into the areas where you feel you and your business can learn the most.

Secondly, a disclaimer. I don’t claim to have a complete handle on all of this – far from it, in fact. That’s the very reason I’ve invested time (and some money) endeavouring to give myself that better understanding.

Moving outside our comfort zones

I’ve always believed that it’s critical to push yourself (and others) beyond the comfort zones of our learning experiences to date. How else otherwise do we grow? How do we learn from the mistakes of others without reading about and learning from them?

From a business perspective – and especially a startup business perspective – a theme that runs through all of the resources is this: if you want to put yourself into the less than 1% of startups who’ve a decent chance of making a commercial success of your idea, then you need to think differently. And the best starting point is to learn from others who’ve been there before, who can tell you the things that they dearly wished someone had told them the first time round. To learn from the best.

The resources in this guide are principally focussed on the engine of your business. But it’s how the entrepreneurs (some now venture capitalists) featured here did it that is interesting. They roll up their proverbial sleeves and ‘get their hands dirty’. There’s no corner of your business that they don’t look into. And they do this for good reason. They want to show you that you need to have a complete understanding of every facet of your business; and it’s your metrics that tell you how the business is doing.

Read these resources, learn to love them, and think of them as a trusted old friend who meets you for a coffee every couple of months and asks you: “But seriously, {insert name here}, are you sure you know what you’re doing with this whole startup lark?”

If you learn from these resources, you’ll reduce your risk of failure, and I reckon you’ll be able to look that friend in the eye and reply, with honesty and conviction, and say: “Yes, my old friend, I do.”

Some SaaS definitions

You’re probably already familiar with these definitions, but just in case you’re not, let’s agree some terms that will appear frequently in the resources:

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

This is the lifeblood of your business, and probably the bedrock metric against which all others are measured. There are four generally accepted definitions of Monthly Recurring Revenue:

  1. New MRR: new customers coming on board, and the revenue that they bring with them
  2. Expansion MRR: upgrades from existing customers, i.e. your existing customers buying more from you than they did the previous month. Remember, ‘expand’ means getting bigger
  3. Contraction MRR: downgrades from existing customers, i.e. your existing customers buying less from you than they did the previous month. Remember, ‘contract’ means getting smaller
  4. Cancelled MRR: cancellations by existing customers, i.e. the dreaded ‘churn’ where you lose a customer completely

Net expansion MRR: Coming back to that word I just used in the cancelled MRR definition. One variant on that would be the definition for ‘Net Churn’ or ‘Net Expansion MRR’. This is where Net Expansion MRR grows faster than gross CMRR (Cumulative Monthly Recurring Revenue from that prior period) i.e. more upgrades than downgrades per calendar month, taking into account any downgrades on a monthly basis. This is the sweet spot that as a startup you should be aiming for.

So we can say that “net expansion” is therefore the difference between Expansion MRR (upgrades from existing customers) and Contraction MRR (downgrades from existing customers).

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

One other important definition (and there are of course many more) would be understanding your CAC, your Customer Acquisition Cost. What does it ‘cost’ the business to acquire a new customer? Broadly speaking, this is calculated by taking your sales & marketing costs and dividing that by the number of new customers in (measured quarterly).

Why is CAC so important in a SaaS business? Because your CAC (the cost to acquire your new customer) is pretty much incurred up front. But the return – the revenue that your newly acquired customer pays to you on a monthly (or otherwise) basis – comes in to your business in delayed (probably monthly) stages. So, it can actually take you (depending on your CAC and MRR) sometimes a year or more before your customer has paid you more than the cost incurred to your business in the effort to acquire them as a customer in the first place! That’s expensive.

Economics 101! That sounds like you’re going to have work out how you acquire those customers, when the revenue to acquire them comes in so late. So, without further ado, here’s a list of some of my favourite experts in the area of SaaS, who I wish I’d known about a long time ago.

SaaS resource list

“Pirate” Metrics

Blog name: 500 Hats

Blog focus: Startups, tech, VC funding

Author’s background: Dave McClure is a venture capitalist and founding partner at 500 Startups, a venture capital firm and startup incubator headquartered in Silicon Valley, founded by PayPal and Google alumni with over $250M in assets under management.

Why it’s worth reading: The whole blog has masses to offer, but I’m specifically recommending an article from 2007 called ‘Pirate Metrics’. Pirate Metrics is just a short-hand way to remember McClure’s acronym, AARRR, for what he considers to be the fundamentals to the customer lifecycle. (Go on, say it aloud: AARRR, pretending to be a pirate! Now you get it!)

McClure talks about what he terms the five steps to success in the customer lifecycle. Understanding where your business is at – how it’s measuring up – in each of those 5 AARRR steps, will help you determine your path of the journey towards success. AARRR stands for:

Acquisition: users coming to your site from various channels

Activation: users enjoying their first visit – a ‘happy’ user experience

Retention: users come back to your site, visiting it multiple times

Referral: users like your product enough to refer it on to others

Revenue: users conduct some monetization behaviour

Recommended reading: Startup Metrics for Pirates: AARRR!

Andreessen Horowitz

Blog name:

Blog focus: Andreessen Horowitz backs bold entrepreneurs who move fast, think big, and are committed to building the next major franchises in technology. Founded by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, the firm provides entrepreneurs with access to expertise and insights in innovation, executive and technical talent, market intelligence, policy and regulatory affairs, business development, and marketing and brand-building.

Author’s background:  See above.

Why it’s worth reading: “The key difference between traditional software and software as a service: Growth hurts (but only at first).”

Recommended reading: Understanding SaaS: Why the Pundits Have It Wrong

David Skok – For Entrepreneurs

Blog name: For Entrepreneurs

Blog focus: This isn’t light reading. But it contains the keys to the kingdom in understanding this area.

Author’s background:  Slok started his first company a few months after leaving university at the age of 21, and over the next 25 years founded a total of four companies (Skok Systems, Corporate Software Europe, Watermark Software, and SilverStream Software) and did one turnaround (Xionics). Three of the companies went public, one was acquired, and one initially succeeded, but then failed when he moved the company to the US. After 25 years as an entrepreneur, he became a venture capital partner at Matrix Partners, the firm that had backed his last two companies.

Why it’s worth reading: “This article is a comprehensive and detailed look at the key metrics that are needed to understand and optimize a SaaS business.”

Recommended reading: SaaS Metrics 2.0 – A Guide to Measuring and Improving What Matters

Tomasz Tunguz – Venture capitalist blog

Blog name:

Blog focus: See author’s background below.

Author’s background: A partner at Redpoint (VC firm) who writes daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups, including how to fund raise, startup benchmarks, management best practices and team building. He co-authored the book, Winning with Data.

Why it’s worth reading: Great data-centric unpacking of questions that should be being asked by all startups.

Recommended reading: The Importance of Payback Period for SaaS Startups

Andrew Chen

Blog name: @andrewchen

Blog focus: “long-form essays on what’s going on here in Silicon Valley.”

Author’s background: Andrew Chen works at Uber, where he heads up driver acquisition programmes for the Growth team. He writes about mobile, metrics, and growth. He is an advisor/investor for tech startups including AngelList, Barkbox, Dropbox, Grovo, Kiva, Product Hunt, Qualaroo, Wanelo, and ZenPayroll. Previously, he was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Mohr Davidow Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based firm with $2B under management. Prior to MDV, Andrew was director of product marketing at Audience Science, where he started up the ad network business that today reaches over 380 million uniques. He holds a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Washington.

Why it’s worth reading: Don’t trust me, trust Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup: “One of the best entrepreneurship blogs of all time.”

Recommended reading: Minimum Desirable Product

Price Intelligently – Price Sensitivity Analysis and your SaaS Metrics

Blog name: Price Intelligently

Blog focus: Helping SaaS leaders align the right product to the right customer for the right price in order to boost revenue and learn more about their customer.

Author’s background: See below.

Why it’s worth reading: The authors drill into you that pricing is a process, and probably the single most valuable and overlooked lever in your SaaS business – many SaaS companies will happily spend thousands of hours building and refining their product, but may only dedicate 6 hours to pricing it – and yet wonder why their business with an awesome product went swirling down the drain.

Recommended reading: Buyer Personas – understanding your customers’ willingness to pay

Jason Lemkin – SaaStr Blog – getting from $0M to $100M faster

Blog name: SaaStr

Blog focus: SaaStr began in 2012 as a simple attempt via a WordPress blog, together with a few answers on Quora, to help share back Jason M. Lemkin’s learnings of going from $0 to $100M ARR with the next generation of great SaaS and B2B entrepreneurs. It has since gone on to become the largest community of SaaS founders and entrepreneurs, with over 3 million views per month and 20 million+ views on Quora, and events hosted throughout the year.

Author’s background: Two time tech entrepreneur (with two successful exits to his name), Lemkin moved into the world of venture capital. Previously CEP of EchoSign, online digital signature tech company acquired by Adobe. What differentiated him was his ability to spot the gap in the resources available to someone interested in the entire journey of a start-up, from idea through to acquisition.

Why it’s worth reading: What distinguishes his blog is his unflinching, searing honesty, his consistent supply of real life examples for the the theories he espouses, and his unrelenting encouragement and infusion of belief in the underlying revolutionary aspect of the SaaS model business model. If you haven’t yet started learning from him, he’d be one of the first I’d encourage you to look at. He’s also co-authored a book called From Impossible to Inevitable with Aaron Ross, who lead the outbound sales and prospecting team at Salesforce which added an extra $100M of revenue. Lemkin’s the founder of arguably the world’s largest pure SaaS conference.

This is the blog of the entrepreneur (exits @ $12M and then $50M) turned VC exclusively focusing on Saas. His writing is compelling and highly educational.

Recommended reading: How to Know When You’ve Hit Initial Traction in SaaS. The Moment When You’ve Got A Real Company. I also highly recommend that you sign up to their weekly articles. For example in his article, The Top 10 Mistakes First Time SaaS Founders Make, point no. 7 is bang on for scaling enterprise level software sales.

Mistake #7: Not going up-market fast enough. Dude. If you have one $100k customer, you can get 2, and then 10. And if you have one $100k customer, you really think the next one can’t pay $150k? Of course they can. Don’t be scared. Don’t be timid. Push up market as fast and as hard as you can. Make the ask. Do it.

Chaotic Flow by Joel York – 10-part guide on SaaS metrics

Blog name: SaaS Blog by Joel York of Chaotic Flow

Blog focus: SaaS, coming from a mathematical background.

Author’s background: CalTech and Cornell scientist and technologist who’s been making and marketing and writing about B2B software (desktop, enterprise, SaaS) for the last 20 years.

Why it’s worth reading: Joel York’s blog contains razor-sharp articulations of all SaaS metrics, and he’s been a pioneer in assisting other entrepreneurs to better understand the area. His illustrations of the maths underlying some of the concepts can help even people who struggle, like me, with basic algebra! He’s written an incredibly useful guide to SaaS metrics.

Recommended reading: In his series on SaaS Metrics and their inter-relating impact on each other, he’s written a great 10 part series of articles which are all in my view well worth reading. It discusses:

  1. Churn kills SaaS growth
  2. New customer acquisition growth must outpace churn
  3. Viral growth trumps SaaS churn
  4. Company time to profit follows customer break-even
  5. Best cast time to profit is simple break-even
  6. Growth creates pressure to reduce total cost of service
  7. Churn creates pressure to reduce total cost of service
  8. Upselling and upgrading accelerates SaaS profitability
  9. Joel’s magic SaaS number
  10. SaaS customer lifetime value drives SaaS company value

Inside Intercom – the blog for Intercom

Blog name: Inside Intercom

Blog focus: Design, customer experience, startups and the business of software.

Author’s background: Irish entrepreneurs build global customer software platform with a suite of products for live chat, marketing, feedback and support – and then write about the experience as they go.

Why it’s worth reading: Beautifully put together posts that are actionable and written from the entrepreneur’s perspective (which is rarer than you’d think).

Recommended reading: SaaS Metrics for Fundraising

See also:

Paul Graham

Blog name: Paul Graham

Blog focus: All matters startup and technology rated.

Author’s background: Paul Graham is a programmer, writer, and investor. In 1995, he and Robert Morris started Viaweb, the first Software as a Service company. Viaweb was acquired by Yahoo in 1998 and became Yahoo Store. In 2001, he started publishing essays on, which in 2015 got 34 million page views. In 2005, he and Jessica Livingston, Robert Morris, and Trevor Blackwell started Y Combinator, the first of a new type of startup incubator. Since 2005, Y Combinator has funded over 1,000 startups, including Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe, and Reddit.

Why it’s worth reading: Absolute cutting-edge thinking. He’s one of the most influential thought-leaders in technology today.

Recommended reading: Startup=Growth

See also: his book, Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age

About the author

David Millerdavid miller new frontiers

David is a New Frontiers alumnus and the CEO and co-founder of Complyfile. A successful litigation solicitor in a previous life, David is now on an entrepreneurial journey to develop a world-class online volunteer recruitment compliance software tool.

Using data analytics to make better business decisions

Using data analytics to make better business decisions

By New Frontiers blog

Using data analytics to make better business decisions

We can measure nearly anything these days. Analytics are everywhere… and we are increasingly becoming swamped with data as more and more is produced. But what does this mean for businesses, and for startups in particular?

The world has fundamentally changed. Each morning, I no longer look out of the window to see if it is raining or whether I should wear an extra jumper. I simply open my app and check the temperature range for the day and the likelihood of rain (especially during my cycle to and from the office). I can do this all from the comfort of my bed, even before the curtains have been pulled back. This shows the power of data to improve even the little things in our lives – though sometimes the accuracy of the rainfall does leaves a little to be improved!

We started our company, EnergyElephant, with this idea in mind. A simpler world made easier with the power of technology. Every day, we are bombarded with more information than most people would have experienced in a week just a few years ago. This has led to some data analysis paralysis or, worse, data collection with no actionable intelligence derived from it (or as I like to say, data collection for the sake of data collection).

Start seeing data as an asset

In my own experience as an engineer, I found more and more of my time was being consumed by excel spreadsheets and carrying out analysis of data sets for small and large companies. What interested me most was watching how energy assessments were carried out and how inefficient they were. An energy assessor would spend a few hours just extracting data from electricity and gas bills into spreadsheets to produce graphs on how the energy was used and where savings might be found.

Then they would spend the remainder of their time walking around and reviewing options for improving energy efficiency. Up to half their time was spent on data extraction and analysis, meaning that the real objective – finding areas for improving energy efficiency – was losing out. We also noticed businesses with large energy bills of up to €70,000 per year that did no analysis of their bills to see what savings they might be missing out on.

Our solution was to build a software platform where anyone could upload their electricity or gas bills and get the insights into their usage immediately. This system could be used by anyone – from the lay person up to the best energy professionals – to help them become more energy efficient.

Every business is a digital business

Businesses are faced with these similar problems every day. Many times they can take from the real work to be carried out. How many businesses spend time trawling through spreadsheets when they could be out doing far more productive things, like keeping their customers happy or gaining new ones?

The future of data will be one of continued exponential growth. Businesses must learn to deal with timely actions from the insights these data sets create. Increasingly, real-time actions are required but this really depends on the business type and whether what they do is time-critical. Website owners know this only too well – by the time they have reviewed a spike in their traffic it is too late to action moving these viewers through their on-boarding funnel.

But real-time or not, data is changing how we do business, and companies that successfully combine their domain expertise with data science will out-compete their rivals every time.

Use data to make better decisions

Every business generates data; no matter how small it is and regardless of what it does. If you have a website or social network accounts, if you have clients and take payments… all of this can provide you with data that can be analysed. By collecting this data in a systematic way, you can start to inject analytics into every business decision you make.

There are a huge number of analysis tools, and many of them are either free or have a free trial. Storing data has become easy and cheap, so you can complete your data with as much information as you have access to. You might be able to record customer complaint messages, access logs, abandoned carts, GPS information, etc.

My advice for data analytics would always be start with what your end objective is. Decide what question you have and what type of answer you need. Then identify the data you’ll have to collect and how you will analyse it. The next step is to source that data, structure it and query it – if you don’t have the expertise in-house to do this, there are thousands of platforms out there to cover any area of interest: marketing, customer relations, search and web traffic, business intelligence, finances, sales, etc. Once you start to get results, you need to validate them and apply the answers you’re getting. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to measure your results.

About the author

Joe Borza New FrontiersJoe Borza

Joe Borza is a New Frontiers past participant, and CEO and co-founder of EnergyElephant, a smart energy assistant.

Joe graduated from Trinity College with a degree in Engineering and went on to obtain a Masters in Sustainable Development at DIT. A chartered engineer, he has worked for over a decade as an consultant in Ireland and abroad, and lectures part-time in Trinity College on smart energy technologies, energy use in built environments and entrepreneurship.