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How Third-Party and External Data Can Transform Your Company’s Analytics Strategy

How Third-Party and External Data can Transform Your Company’s Analytics Strategy


November 20, 2021

Data has become an invaluable asset for all industries and businesses.

If data and analytics are a meteor, then doubters are dinosaurs. 

Because — with respect to New York Giants head coach Joe Judge (who recently said “If Excel was gonna win football games, Bill Gates would be killing it right now” in an attempt to dismiss analytics) —  those who’ve embraced next-generation data and analytics capabilities are the most well-positioned for success, now and into the future. 

Most companies do know this. You’ve probably seen a dozen press releases today alone, referencing buzzwords related to data, analytics and other digitally advanced tools and technologies. But what most companies don’t know, when it gets down to brass tacks, is all the ways they can use data and analytics. 


They may want to start by looking outside of their own castle. 

What do I mean? Well, many companies already capture tons of information on customer interactions, transactions, consumer behavior and more — known commonly as first-party data. (Think, for instance, of an application using consumer information so a company can better target products in both development and marketing.) Some have dived into the realm of zero- and second-party data, too. But there’s, well, a third place companies should be looking as they attempt to get ahead. 

I’m talking, of course, about third-party data — data that exists externally, via a literal third party, that companies can embrace to gain new analytical opportunities and, ultimately, capabilities. In my work, we’ve been examining ways to support client ambitions with third-party and public data for quite a while, and this is still just the beginning. 

So, how can companies take advantage of third-party data? And how will they benefit? Here are a few ways — and some key lessons from each one. 


Studying Third-Party External Data to See What’s Working

Before my current job, I worked in a similar role servicing a pharmaceutical client. The company’s business model involved selling supply to distributors, who then sold directly to pharmacies and doctor’s offices. As a result, the client wasn’t able to gain first-party insight into the sales data for their products. Eventually, we decided to work with a data analytics and market research firm so the company could get better insights into their business. Using data from the firm, the client was then able to see what prescriptions were being written most often, which products were being used most and much, much more. 

Companies who need better market insight into their products should consider how market research could serve them — and look into how they can get a better view of the numbers. It can help to shine light in otherwise hard-to-see places. 


Embracing the Internet of Things to Maximize Productivity

More and more often, thanks to the Internet of Things, companies are able to analyze data they’ve pulled from a piece of machinery or similar asset. In other words, devices record data about their usage and their function, providing companies with information that can be used to evaluate stress points, potential points of failure and more. Integrating this IoT data with internal data can offer unique insight into a deeper level of your business and its processes. I’m currently seeing businesses building out this software, in ways that will benefit machine lifespans, highlight productivity trends and resolve any quality shortcomings. 

This kind of data could come from any smart device, whether directly owned or not, making it a great potential benefit for companies spanning a wide variety of industries. 


Analyzing Public Data to Adjust to Current Business Realities

A current client of mine in the healthcare industry faced an existential crisis at the outset of COVID-19 in 2020. Obviously, they provided a necessary and important service, but potential customers were suddenly — and understandably — frightened of entering into a medical setting while so little was known about the virus. However, the company embraced public data to navigate the bumps of the early pandemic days, studying COVID-19 trends and hot spots so they could easily ramp business up or down depending on when and where it was safe. 

World events are destined to continue surprising and affecting normal, day-to-day business operations. So, finding ways to account for vital and actionable data and stay productive will always be important. For some companies, public data solutions may be the answer. 

It’s clear that a lot of analytical possibilities in the business sphere have, even today, been underutilized. The question is which companies will have the wit and know-how to embrace these possibilities — and turn 1s and 2s into actual insights that can impact the direction of the company. With today’s tools and tactics, this is more possible than ever before. 

So, don’t be a dinosaur. Jump on the meteor — and take it for a ride. 

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Analytics Insight

Analytics Insight is an influential platform dedicated to insights, trends, and opinions from the world of data-driven technologies. It monitors developments, recognition, and achievements made by Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Analytics companies across the globe.

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