Data should not be a luxury available to minority only

By Nam Anh   December 11, 2020 | 03:30 am PT
Data is a team sport and companies should learn how to play together to drive growth, according to Gojek Vietnam’s general manager.

At the Startup Viet 2020 seminar hosted by VnExpress, Phung Tuan Duc, general manager of Gojek Vietnam spoke on the subject "Converting data into business growth."

Data drives business decisions

Duc started the presentation by highlighting that the ability to harness insights from Big Data is the secret to the success of global tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and more. Besides using data to attract new users, these companies also leverage data to understand user habits and design highly targeted marketing experiences. These insights also inform future product design.


Phung Tuan Duc, General Manager of Gojek Vietnam, said data drives the company’s business strategies. Photo by Startup Viet 2020.

Gojek gathers a large amount of data, which comprises two million driver -partners, about 900,000 merchant partners and millions of consumers across Southeast Asia. The company processes millions of transactions every day, translating into hundreds of transactions per second.

"We use this huge data source to establish a deep understanding of consumers’ preferences and buying habits. This in turn informs our product development and advertising strategies so we can continue to deliver more relevant experiences for our users over time," Duc said.

Over the past five years, Gojek has developed its strategies based on data analysis, instead of subjective leadership. According to Duc, its "Data or nothing" strategy has helped managers make accurate decisions and truly understand customer behavior.

Markets in the era of data

Duc noted that markets are seeing strong digital demand, which is in turn spurring rapid growth and a desire for real-time experiences. Customers are now able to gain knowledge and access tools with ease, and they are also more sensitive to new trends, so new products must be accompanied by data-driven experiences to ensure customer satisfaction.

To explain how companies can effectively utilize data, Duc brought up a case study on Galeries Lafayette, a leading department store in France which used data to counter the Covid-19 crisis. During the pandemic, Galeries Lafayette analyzed customer data and used live video shopping technology to connect customers with 36 luxury brands. In doing so, they successfully introduced consumers to the right products and boosted sales.

Besides, while data is everywhere, the key is in figuring out how to turn data into actionable insights. Duc said that he likes to shop on Amazon because he appreciates its customization. About 35 percent of Amazon’s sales come from personalized products that are recommended based on a user’s purchase history and behavior. Amazon goes one step further to integrate digital assistance into their product categories, making the discovery experience more relevant to each consumer. Duc pointed out that Amazon "understands customers better than the customers themselves" and it knows why customers buy certain items.

"Data is thus the new source of fuel for businesses," the GM affirmed.

How to use this 'new fuel' to drive growth

With such a large amount of data, businesses can easily get lost. To find the most efficient approach to using data, Gojek starts with understanding customer needs and analyzing the data to solve demand-side problems.

"Data is a team sport," said Duc.

Gojek has "injected" data specialists into its various departments to help analyze data and understand customer behavior. Businesses need to build a culture of utilizing and dealing with data. "Don’t let data become a luxury item for the minority," Duc pointed out.

To boost efficiency, Gojek follows the "simultaneous" principle instead of the "parallel" principle. Duc explained that the "parallel" principle occurs when everyone tries to solve problems separately within their own verticals. As a result, there is often no cohesion, causing overlaps, inefficiency and waste. The "simultaneous" principle, on the other hand, occurs when subdivision groups deal with different aspects of the same problem. To do this, Gojek uses a system where departments can share their work status and progress in real-time, minimizing the amount of time spent searching for essential data or the time required to find a person to share updates.

Gojek has improved its support tools so that employees can tap on data sources with ease. By establishing common methods for communication and data sharing, the company ensures that all work is data-driven and all departments can access the common data platform without any barriers. Gojek has also equipped its teams with a shared machine learning platform, and continuously optimizes the process of understanding customers and responding to their needs.

"Data will help companies to drive business efficiency. At Gojek, data gives us a boost in understanding our consumers and partners, which enables us to continuously improve our service for Vietnamese users," Duc emphasized.

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