Finding Action in Analytics

1 Author : April 1, 2013 0

MUMBAI, INDIA: Information in Big Data avatar is bigger and extremely crucial. Big Data as per Gartner’s Top Predictions for 2013 is going to move from a ‘focus on individual projects’ to an ‘influence on enterprises’ strategic information architecture’. This implies volume, velocity and complexity of data will need to be evaluated to define strategic approaches.

This leads us to the next obvious trend to appear in that list, ‘Actionable Analytics’. Analytics is increasingly delivered to users at the point of action and in context. . The coming together of Big Data and Analytics provides simulation, prediction, optimization to empower decision flexibility at the time and place of every business process action.

Across the world, enterprises still use analytics primarily for supporting decisions made in the boardroom – but rarely to devise new business plans or forge innovative growth strategies. At most cases, enterprises use analytics applications by capturing historical trends and patterns, and to course correct actions based on past data. That’s why Business Intelligence (BI) market has remained strong as end-user organizations largely continue their BI projects to enhance transparency through insights that enable them to cut costs and improve productivity and agility down the line. This assures the strategic importance of BI and thus the industry investment continues to be strong.

But today organizations need to proactively use information harvested from BI and Analytics to stay updated on industry moves, stay competitive from their peers as well as also emerge to faster decisions. Based on the insights weaned from analytics, they can offer products, services and experiences that are more in tune with customer expectations. BI enables business gain visibility into real-time transaction processing, increase operational efficiency & productivity to take informed decisions, guide employees & drive compliance and more importantly improve quality & customer satisfaction.

Progressive enterprises across the world are now recognizing the power of analytics and applying them towards more strategic purposes within the organization. Some of these companies and their customized solutions include Wal-Mart (Customer Intelligence), Hyundai Motors (Executive Information System) and Wilbur-Ellis Company (Business Reporting and Analysis). These systems have demonstrated the power of analytics by optimizing operations, and as a result, boosting both the top line and bottom line of these companies.

Enterprises such as Staples, Nestlé and Dow Chemicals are changing the rules by deploying various analytics applications across a wide variety of activities. However, every organization is not at the same level when applying analytics. There is a strong need of analysis of the data available to evaluate operational and strategic performance excellence. Analysis of data available from various clean sources provides qualitative and quantitative pointers. The quantitative information is typically focused on operational performance of different processes, whereas the qualitative and leading indicator information provides insights into the strategic performance. These two are the key components of an Early Warning System.

Quantitative information leads to operational performance evaluation. The evolution of BI systems has helped enterprises to achieve a remarkable level of operational efficiencies. The technologies, like executive dashboards, in-memory computing etc., provide opportunities to correct the flaws in operations almost at the time of occurrence. These improvisations are based on the quantitative analysis of the data available to the enterprise. Enterprises benefit from time saved by faster processing of data and more accurate analysis performed on a larger volume of data sets. For example, Charming Shoppes, a specialty boutique, uses an analytics platform extensively to generate daily and weekly reports on an array of company activities. The executive information system helps the board understand and identify opportunities to improve operational efficiencies. But is it enough to create an opportunity that can provide a window to command the rules of industry, or should it take an enterprise ahead of all its competitors?

Qualitative information leads to strategic performance evaluation. Leading indicators determine future performance.. These can only be inferred based on various dynamic factors linked to measurable KPIs. Such indicators form the basis of strategic performance review. If emphasis is shifted on them, it will unlock leaps of benefits for an enterprise. This will help enterprises to model new operating procedures in their respective industries.

Today an enterprise needs to evolve as a Real Time Enterprise (RTE) which transforms into an agile and fast responding enterprise, well suited for a dynamic and volatile market. However, in order to be at a competitive advantage over industry peers, organizations must incorporate a collaborative performance evaluation metric of BI that entails long term sustenance leadership and profound success.

As stated by Albert Einstein in a different context though, “not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.” Hence, strategic performance planning needs to be based on much more than historical figures and statistics, but on holistic information evaluated on a customized intelligence mining platform.

(Amit Bishnoi is Vice President – Application Business, AGC Networks Limited.
The ideas and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CyberMedia)

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