When It’s Time to Build a Data Stack

And why waiting might be dooming your business

birds eye view of a cargo ship


Congratulations! It’s working. You have customers and are growing. You’ve succeeded with a mix of skill and luck to create something that people want. The next question is, how do you make it repeatable? Understanding your customers through the data you already have can help you make better strategic decisions about what to do next.

For many small businesses, setting up a modern data stack seems like an easy choice to postpone. After all, every ad-tracker, CRM and ERP has decent built-in analytics. In a pinch, copy/pasting in excel the night before a big meeting is practically a business rite.

If you only depend on one service to understand your business, you can probably get what you need from the one tool. However if your business has grown beyond what one tool can show, waiting is almost certainly holding your team back and dooming your business to stagnation

Utilize Your Advantages

Survival of the fittest, not the biggest.

bicycle driver

Your biggest advantage right now is speed. While your big competitors take 6 months (or longer) to change email templates, you understand your customer and can respond right away with meaningful features and messaging.

Timing isn’t the only factor in decision-making. Strategy is often described as ‘the art of deciding what not to do’ and decisions without data can create havoc on your customers, your staff, and your balance sheet.

Oftentimes the value of doing one meaningful action will eclipse dozens of unimportant bikeshedding changes and finding that meaningful action is the core of being a data driven company.

You Can Make Data-Driven Decisions

Focus on what matters. 

peasron's law text written out with a chart on the paper on the right

People often underestimate the impact of uncertainty post decision-making — when the going gets hard, people start asking ‘does this even matter?’ Without focus, your team may turn to metrics that don’t fundamentally impact your success.

Set your company up for success by first defining what success looks like: Find the KPI that matters to your business and your team will delight in going heads-down on how to make it happen. An often unexpected benefit is how engaging this is for your team: When they can focus their expertise on creating experiments that drive a true impact and see their name on the KPI scoreboard, the team will transform into shrewd CEOs of their domain.

People are incredible – they come up with amazing ideas and often there’s a gut instinct that leads to an ocean of value. They just need the tools and rules to go exploring.

Growing Faster Means Growing the Right Way

Managing complexity is the only truly hard problem

City Birds Eye View

Early-stage data needs the most nurturing – your data is growing right now, whether you’re tending to it or not. Is it growing into a liability or an asset?

Brains are only so big. We invent tools to externalize thinking and remembering. When you were small, you could fit your whole business into your view. Now that you’ve got several people working in concert, no one person can have a complete view. But, when all your data lives in one place, you can create insights across sources.

The value of a data stack shows when joining two separate data sources:

  • Ad tracking joined on CRM data shows leads that result in revenue and referrals, not just clicks/impressions

  • Supply data joined on customer behavior shows when you’re missing sales and when you’re wasting spend on excess supply.

  • Customer service metrics joined on product changes helps your engineers understand why their work matters.

Even the basic metrics to run a business can create a spiderweb of connections. And when a truly novel source becomes available (a new product/service), the complexity grows exponentially. Effectively managing that complexity is the feature that distinguishes exceptional companies from the pack.

The good news is that both financially and technically, setting up a data stack is easier than ever. Thanks to services like Snowflake (which scales infinitely and only charges on the storage and processing that you actually use), you can have all your product, customer, revenue, and cost data in one place for your team to take the business to the next level.

And with Mozart Data you can have the entire stack set up today and ready for your team to unlock your growth potential. Contact us for a demo today and see how easy it is to access your data.

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This post was written by Mozart Data Co-Founder and CEO, Peter Fishman.  In 2015, I became a season ticket holder