Running a company without analytics is like running a marathon blindfolded
Most process within organisations generate large amounts of data on a daily basis. But how can that data help organisations provide better services? Or reduce costs and grow in revenue? Or optimize processes for operational excellence across multiple departments?
Without looking at the data, people tend to make opinion-driven decisions based on experience, gut feeling or seeking confirmation bias. We believe we know the underlying message of the data while there are so many hidden insights when we take the time to let the data tell us its story. But how can organisations become more data-driven without losing time and money by (over)analysing with tools that are hard to master and expensive to operate?
Working towards Analytical Excellence
In most organisations 95% of the available data remains untapped, despite experts’ insistence on its potential as a business game-changer. The main reason for this is the volume and complexity of data combined with a lack of time, proper tooling and analytical skills. Only using 5% of the available data means missing out on a crucial part of the story hidden in the organisations’ data.
Analysts provide the organisation with a plethora of operational reports, which haven’t changed much over time in terms of content nor design, out of habit and familiarity with the form. A lot of organisations do not yet see the potential of Big Data Analytics to make working with data easier, faster, and more fun. It does not only make the analysing processes more efficient but also more effective. 58% of data-driven companies report improved performance compared to 40% of non-data-driven companies.
Getting the right data right and preparing it for interactive dashboards in a proper, timely and repeatable manner can take up a lot of time. During the analytical process, people spend 80% of their time getting, cleaning and prepping the data, which leaves only 20% for actual analyses. Once you have got the right data, making well-informed and intuitive dashboards can still be a challenge. Partially because some tools require more experience than others, but also because of the lack of flexibility of some analytics tools. How do you know what is the best fit for your organisation?
Don’t expect self-solving analytics
31% of organisations have high aspirations regarding data analytics and self-service business intelligence, however, only 10% succeed in using data analytics pervasively to drive business processes across the organisation. Where does that difference come from?
Organisations tend to pick a vendor quickly, purchasing a large volume of licences and train a selected group of people with already high analytical skills plus train a wide range of business users while expecting them to acquire an analytical mindset on the job. On the short term employees are enthusiastic so ideally they start gathering as much data as possible in order to acquire new insights rapidly. If access to data is not a roadblock than soon it becomes an analytical jungle full of dashboards with no focus or oversight, and most worringly, no single version of the truth, lacking performance and multiple duplications of effort. In the latter case, the process then slowly comes to a grind due to lacking guidance and inability to generate trustworthy insights. How can organisations prevent this expensive investment in software and people to fail?
Start small: pick a specific use case
For analytics to be the answer, you need the right use cases. Organisations need to start small, but dare to think big. With a team of experts, you can elaborate on a specific use case to stay focussed and work towards a concrete goal within a predefined process with embedded metrics. Only then you can measure to what extent the analytics have succeeded in giving the right answers or telling what actions should be taken in order to deliver value to the customer. From this point, it is easier to replicate best practices and scale up the analytics within other areas and departments in order to transform into an analytical excellent organisation.
Develop a suitable roadmap
Once the organisation has seen analytics to be adding more value than only efficiency gains you can think about the bigger picture towards analytical excellence. It then no longer only involves gaining insights from the data within a use case, but also incorporarting the organisations’ strategy and needs, legacy systems and cloud infrastructure, data governance and community building, etc. Develop a roadmap that suits your priorities and balances people, process and technology. Keep progressing in incremental steps to proof value and preserve an overview to be able to keep reaching the determined goals. And of course don’t be afraid to ask help from suppliers, they have a lot of expertise with these processes and bring in an outside perspective.