Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Why Bother With Data Analytics?

“I know my market, how it works, the seasonality; my clients and I can do a better job than any of your analytics nonsense!” If you hear someone say that today, especially in light of what analytics can really do for an organization’s growth, you know that someone is a bit of a living monument!

For though no one disputes a business expert’s instinct, data analytics, with its roots firmly within the ambit of statistical intelligence,  is completely free of human bias and assumptions that could creep into seemingly smart decisions. But that is understating the advantages. The actual juice of analytics is to construct the big picture from seemingly meaningless little ones. Analytics synthesizes information from experiential historical data that adds better credence and credibility in a management’s decision making process. "Optimization" is often at the "core" of most that Analytics seeks to deliver; and what organization in an age of information overload - be it through the conventional customer cell, social media, POS, emails and  internet-would not want that? ‘None’ would and should be the obvious answer yet the surprising fact is that there remain a host of sleeping and lumbering giants.

Though every organization worth its salt today understands the holy-grail that is "information"; most continue to  grapple with the problem of how to leverage it. Many scratch the surface by employing overly simplistic methods to glean, screen and interpret data in ad hoc bursts of well-intentioned yet mis-guided enthusiasm- all this while choosing to disregard the fact that their data (and analytics practitioners) can do far, far better. Instead of getting easily satiated with the obvious and apparent, these organizations need to be able to unlock real secrets-those that will make the real difference.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a steady flow of meaningful and relevant information right into the lap(top)s of key decision makers- who could then integrate these insights to their advantage?  Of course it would be!

The first step towards this is  ensuring the data being captured is  useful, clean and workable ( and taking corrective measures if not). This will form the foundation of all data analysis that companies wish to do .So if they can’t do this piece themselves consistently and properly, they shouldn’t wait to call the analytics experts- who will then work the data in a turn key fashion- right from preparing it in the way it should be to tinkering around with it in ways only they know. The  information that will finally provide will –as stated before – be free of bias- based purely on cold hart facts- this information can improve operational efficiencies, identify patterns and subsequent opportunities and help companies manage and plan resources, processes and risks in the way they don’t even realize they can.

But to reach this stage they need to first accept that there is only so much their own instinct or the ‘nose’ for business can do; that there is a reason why there are analytics experts today; that there is a reason why they are busy.

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