Data and analytics are the means to an end. Unless your business is data analytics, the reason for you to excel in this discipline is for your organisation to survive, learn and grow. In the age of digital disruption, customer centricity and innovation have become the memes for company transformation programs to ensure the organisation will survive and grow. Data and analytics underpin transformation programs because they help executives better engage with their customers and anticipate their needs and wants. And they help executives with innovation, whether through the prediction of trends in the market, optimising internal systems and processes, or creating better products and business models.
Having spent the last few years in the neighbouring field of patent and innovation analytics, I was keen to see if big data and customer analytics were still a thing. And recent reports from Accenture, PwC, McKinsey and Gartner confirm that data analytics is still a topic that keeps directors worried and investing heavily. Whilst analytics or BI come into play across a variety of company functions, analytics are mostly geared towards the customer, digital and innovation. These are the areas where big decisions are required as the 2016 Big Decisions Survey by PwC Global explores rather nicely. Executives know they have to do something, but not all are exactly sure what to do, how to do it and how they compare with their peers.
Is your organisation part of the analytics avant garde or does data make you panic?
Clearly there’s a maturity pathway. Depending on the industry, size or age of the organisation there’s a stark difference between the machine-learning big data avant garde, and those struck with data panic, in pure survival mode.
During my time at PwC Analytics Advisory, I conducted many Analytics Maturity or Health Checks. I found that the organisations leading analytics today are made up of 2 groups:
- Certain retail or financial services “behemoths” who started decades ago with their data and analytics improvement programs and gradually overcame their legacy systems and technologies – through great effort and expense.
- Smaller and newer organisations which may have started late, but from the onset got their multi-channel, big data operating models and predictive solutions right.
And a large group of organisations who have started to embrace data are being transformed from a product company into a data company, eg, the internet of things.
This is where data and analytics go beyond being ‘the means to an end’, but are the innovation, suggesting there is no end at all, but perhaps a virtuous cycle.
Written for Hargraves by Doris Spielthenner, CEO at Ambercite, Data Strategist