Operational vs. Strategic
Data for Manufacturers

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As of February 3, 2022

The smartest way to make strategic decisions about your manufacturing business is by understanding and analyzing different types of operational and strategic data that can affect your company. This article will take you through the differences between the two so you can get a better understanding of what to do with the data you have, as well as what insights you can draw from information readily available at your fingertips.

The Difference Between Operational Data & Strategic Data


Operational and strategic data are two types of related organizational information gained through research. Operational data is actually one type of strategic data, which includes internal control and operational environment information such as data on the company’s workforce, direct competitors, creditors, suppliers and information on customers. Aside from operational data, strategic data includes remote environmental data and industry data.

Remote Data

Remote data is a type of strategic data that includes information on the economy, social statistics, political data, technological advances and ecology. The direction and nature of the economy in which the company operates may be reported in economic data. Other types of economic data may include the state of the economy, such as a boom, recession or depression and related economic trends. Information on the lifestyles, beliefs and attitudes of the people in a company’s external environment may be included in social data. Political data includes legal and regulatory information, such as taxation and employment law.

Industrial Data

Typically, strategic data involves information surrounding the industry in which the business operates and is called industrial data. Industrial data may include entry barriers, supplier and buyer power, the ability of consumers to substitute the product and the number of competitors in the industry. Strategic managers may collect industry information to create industry standards, which are the average practices of businesses within an industry.

Operational Data

Information on direct competitors, a company’s labor statistics, information on suppliers, accounting data and projection of needed resources may all be included in operational data. Data collected on direct competitors helps marketers make the products seem superior to competing products. Data on customers helps marketers create consumer profiles that help with everything from product creation, to distribution and advertising. Labor and accounting data help with internal control of finances and productivity.

Strategic Data Uses

Both strategic and operational data aid in a type of strategic analysis known as SWOT, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. SWOT analysis helps companies determine the business’s strategic direction and set strategic goals. Strategic data also helps keep marketers in tune with trends, which helps create in-demand products and appealing advertisements. Labor statistics inform upper management of general trends among employees and aids management in enduring the workforce’s commitment to the company’s strategic goals.

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In order to complete an accurate SWOT analysis or determine your business’ strategic direction, you need to know exactly where your company is now and have accurate insights to all areas of your manufacturing business and operations.

Salesforce Rootstock ERP drives productivity with real-time visibility. Operations data is updated and accessible in real-time. You can leverage the data in multiple manufacturing workflows. Use it to track your key performance indicators (KPIs) and to make smart business decisions about your production, inventory and cash flow.

Learn more about Rootstock ERP and see it in action →

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