Becoming data-driven: 3 ways to start collecting data in a structured way

By
Victor Lang
on
Feb 5, 2021

Our COO Victor Lang shares a quick guide on how small businesses can get started collecting data and make serious headway towards becoming truly data-driven, without a lot of resources.

Who would you say has a better chance of becoming data-driven: small or large businesses?

You may be surprised.

Despite having fewer resources, small businesses have the advantage here. If you’re a small business, you can change your systems to become data-driven faster. You can be agile, bendy, and quicker on your feet.

When it comes to data, all businesses have the same goal: collect, collate, analyse it, and use it to inform business strategy.

It’s very possible for small businesses to use data to greater effect with less effort than large companies, which are often bogged down by legacy systems and protocols.

How?

Armed with the right technology, you can do anything. 

Even without an IT team.

Let’s show you how.

This article focuses on the first step to becoming data-driven: data collection.
Subscribe below to get my upcoming guides on data integration and analysis.

Collecting data from your accounts

One of the easiest ways to start collecting data is to go digital. If you’re using printed statements and receipts to keep track of finances (and yes, there are many who are), switch to Quickbooks, Xero or other accounting software that keeps track for you. 

Financial data indicates the health (and ultimately, the survival) of your business. At any moment, you need to know exactly where you stand financially, so you know what to do next. 

If you’re using many different bank accounts, credit cards and payment systems, you’ll need a way to aggregate that information in one place. This is, again, where accounting software can help.

We like Xero’s App Marketplace, which allows us to connect other software we use for payments, payroll, inventory, CRM, etc. Aggregating it all in one place helps us visualise and understand our data better, with far less effort involved.

It's worth transitioning to cloud accounting software just to take advantage of the data integrations available. It will give you a headstart to becoming an efficient, data-driven organisation.

Read: A smarter way to code your transactions in Xero

Collecting data from your website

Most people think the purpose of a website is to market their business. And they’re right. However, many overlook another crucial purpose of a website: to learn about customers. 

If you had a physical store, and someone walked in, you’d ask what they're looking for then help them find it, right? Think of your website as an online storefront and use free tools like Google Analytics to find out how visitors are interacting with your site.

  • How did they find you?
  • What did they search?
  • What page did they spend the most time on?
  • What did they click on?
  • What did they not click on?

All of this information will help you understand your target audience better, and how to improve your website to ensure they find what they need straight away.

I like to think of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) as the online equivalent of asking someone, "What are you looking for?", and a great way to gain insight into the needs and motivations of your customers.

Tracking what people are clicking on can be even more effective than interviewing them to find out what they want, because there’s nothing more telling than a person’s actions. 

This is the essence of data-driven marketing — doing more of what leads are converting on, and less of what they’re not. 

Collecting data from your sales

Many business people are so focused on making sales, they don’t spend enough time tracking and analysing them. 

Remember, POS (Point of Sale) tools are not just helpful in making credit card transactions easier, they're a great way to collect sales data. Companies like Clover make integrated POS systems that not only improve the retail experience but also collect data more efficiently, saving you the hassle of retyping or scanning in sales reports. 

In the same vein, B2B businesses can use CRM software like Hubspot or Salesforce to keep a record of customer communications. Over time, this data holds invaluable insights to learn from. 

Collecting sales data through digital interactions with customers provides concrete information on which to base your sales strategy, which often produces better results than relying on gut feel alone. 

build dashboards

We have discussed three sources of data to collect here: financial accounting, website traffic, and sales. Nailing these three is a great place to start for any small business, and will get you well on your way to becoming a truly data-driven organisation.

In my next articles, I will show you how to aggregate this data and use it to generate insights for your business. Subscribe below to get these articles delivered to your inbox. 

Contact us
Case study

Becoming data-driven: 3 ways to start collecting data in a structured way

Case study

Becoming data-driven: 3 ways to start collecting data in a structured way

The results
A major international bank found gini to be the most efficient data enrichment provider for its digital banking upgrade initiative.

In a pilot project with gini, the bank ran 50,000 transactions through our data enrichment engine.  Within 72 hours, gini had enriched 95.7% credit card transactions and 92.7% EPS transactions. 

“We were surprised just how fast gini’s enrichment capabilities are. What we expected to take 3 weeks took them only 3 days,” said the bank’s Head of Innovation and Strategy. “On top of that, they even enriched EPS transactions, which no other provider has achieved.”
Credit card
transactions enriched
EPS
transactions enriched
The results
gini introduced a successful Savings Goal feature in our PFM app that was adopted by 60% of users within 30 days of launching.
 
Our users engage with the Savings Goal feature an average of 7.4 times a month, which when compared to the once-a-month engagement of most banking apps, is a testament to its value. 

And the reviews were overwhelmingly positive, with comments such as, “Congrats on the release of the saving function, it’s very helpful and motivates me to save more!” and “Makes saving and budgeting a lot easier.”

Makes saving and budgeting a lot easier.
The challenge
Our research showed that users wanted a savings feature that automates their budgeting calculations, and shows how much they have left to spend after putting their savings aside every month.

However, no PFM apps in Hong Kong had a feature like this because it requires complicated algorithms and enriched transaction data. Without merchant names for example, it’s difficult to label recurring transactions accurately, and give the user a clear, comprehensive overview of their finances.

The solution
With data automatically enriched by our machine learning models, gini was able to build a fully functioning Saving Goals feature that resonated with users and increased engagement.

The new feature automatically calculates a monthly OK to Spend amount by subtracting the user’s total monthly expenses (past and upcoming) and Savings Goal from their total monthly income. It also has a traffic light system that warns users when it’s time to reign in their spending.

None of this was possible without first enriching the transaction data with accurate merchant names and categories.
The challenge
A recent digital banking survey showed low levels of satisfaction, with 87% of customers finding it hard to understand their transaction feeds.
My current spending history is confusing. I want to see the ACTUAL shop name.
To address this — and reduce queries — the bank planned to first replace standard transaction codes with clear merchant names and categories throughout its digital banking services. And then to increase loyalty with a personal finance app, built on the foundation of enriched data. 

However, developing the technology to transform such large volumes of transaction data was proving to be a Herculean task — one that would take years. So they looked for an external provider to help clean, structure and enrich the data accurately and quickly.

The solution
Impressed by the quality and speed of gini’s enrichment engine in the pilot project, the bank plans to integrate our scalable software into their own systems to allow for real-time data processing and enrichment. The best part is, gini’s technology is easily accessible as a SaaS solution on AWS Marketplace, avoiding the need for lengthy tech stack integration processes.

Soon, the bank’s entire customer base will have their transaction feeds transformed from confusing codes to recognisable merchant names, logos and categories. This is predicted to have a significantly positive impact on NPS scores.

Equipped with enriched data, the bank’s development team will then be able to build a competitive personal finance app with much richer features than otherwise possible.
Contact us to find out more about our digital banking data solutions
Contact us
Find out how data enrichment can help you build better PFM features
Contact us

Open banking in 2020: Are you ready?

Open banking is primed to become the new norm in Asia Pacific. But, as our research report shows, the majority of bankers in the region are not sufficiently prepared for what’s coming.

It’s time to get smart on what open banking is and how it’s expected to impact the market this year. 
gini's original research report on open banking in Asia Pacific for 2020
Download the research report
Download the open Banking 2020 research report by gini
We interviewed more than 300 finance and technology thought leaders across Asia on the industry’s readiness for open banking this year, with surprising results. 
Download our Open Banking 2020 research report to find out: 

The opportunities in store for all participants
The barriers to adoption
Who is expected to benefit most 
How institutions can generate revenue from open APIs
And more

Becoming data-driven: 3 ways to start collecting data in a structured way

By
Victor Lang
on
Feb 5, 2021

Who would you say has a better chance of becoming data-driven: small or large businesses?

You may be surprised.

Despite having fewer resources, small businesses have the advantage here. If you’re a small business, you can change your systems to become data-driven faster. You can be agile, bendy, and quicker on your feet.

When it comes to data, all businesses have the same goal: collect, collate, analyse it, and use it to inform business strategy.

It’s very possible for small businesses to use data to greater effect with less effort than large companies, which are often bogged down by legacy systems and protocols.

How?

Armed with the right technology, you can do anything. 

Even without an IT team.

Let’s show you how.

This article focuses on the first step to becoming data-driven: data collection.
Subscribe below to get my upcoming guides on data integration and analysis.

Collecting data from your accounts

One of the easiest ways to start collecting data is to go digital. If you’re using printed statements and receipts to keep track of finances (and yes, there are many who are), switch to Quickbooks, Xero or other accounting software that keeps track for you. 

Financial data indicates the health (and ultimately, the survival) of your business. At any moment, you need to know exactly where you stand financially, so you know what to do next. 

If you’re using many different bank accounts, credit cards and payment systems, you’ll need a way to aggregate that information in one place. This is, again, where accounting software can help.

We like Xero’s App Marketplace, which allows us to connect other software we use for payments, payroll, inventory, CRM, etc. Aggregating it all in one place helps us visualise and understand our data better, with far less effort involved.

It's worth transitioning to cloud accounting software just to take advantage of the data integrations available. It will give you a headstart to becoming an efficient, data-driven organisation.

Read: A smarter way to code your transactions in Xero

Collecting data from your website

Most people think the purpose of a website is to market their business. And they’re right. However, many overlook another crucial purpose of a website: to learn about customers. 

If you had a physical store, and someone walked in, you’d ask what they're looking for then help them find it, right? Think of your website as an online storefront and use free tools like Google Analytics to find out how visitors are interacting with your site.

  • How did they find you?
  • What did they search?
  • What page did they spend the most time on?
  • What did they click on?
  • What did they not click on?

All of this information will help you understand your target audience better, and how to improve your website to ensure they find what they need straight away.

I like to think of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) as the online equivalent of asking someone, "What are you looking for?", and a great way to gain insight into the needs and motivations of your customers.

Tracking what people are clicking on can be even more effective than interviewing them to find out what they want, because there’s nothing more telling than a person’s actions. 

This is the essence of data-driven marketing — doing more of what leads are converting on, and less of what they’re not. 

Collecting data from your sales

Many business people are so focused on making sales, they don’t spend enough time tracking and analysing them. 

Remember, POS (Point of Sale) tools are not just helpful in making credit card transactions easier, they're a great way to collect sales data. Companies like Clover make integrated POS systems that not only improve the retail experience but also collect data more efficiently, saving you the hassle of retyping or scanning in sales reports. 

In the same vein, B2B businesses can use CRM software like Hubspot or Salesforce to keep a record of customer communications. Over time, this data holds invaluable insights to learn from. 

Collecting sales data through digital interactions with customers provides concrete information on which to base your sales strategy, which often produces better results than relying on gut feel alone. 

build dashboards

We have discussed three sources of data to collect here: financial accounting, website traffic, and sales. Nailing these three is a great place to start for any small business, and will get you well on your way to becoming a truly data-driven organisation.

In my next articles, I will show you how to aggregate this data and use it to generate insights for your business. Subscribe below to get these articles delivered to your inbox. 

Contact us

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