Decisive Facts will help you gain fresh insights with data & analytics and so obtain a lasting strategic advantage. It’s a dynamic area to work in with lots of opportunities. In our daily practice, we notice some confusion in this relatively young business. We hope this blog clears up some of your questions about data, and provides some insight of what it can mean to you. Please explore our website for more information.
Data & analytics in four simple groups
One of the first things to strike you when you enter this world is the huge list of terms and definitions that you come across in media and in blogs: big data, analytics, predictive modeling, forecasting, business intelligence, data science, dashboards, etc. etc. For a lot of these terms, there’s not really a common definition, and most of the terms are used as synonyms. We’ll generally use the term ‘data & analytics’ but go into a little more detail below.
We have defined four different groups to help you to better classify the data & analytics initiatives:
- Data & Analytics hype. This is the domain of storytellers, TED talks, seminars with the latest gadgets, a world in which facts and fiction melt together. It’s mainly just talk – interesting talk perhaps, but little is actually delivered.
- Data & Analytics Capabilities. Here, solutions are technically feasible, but have insufficient added value, and no reasonable business case. Nowadays, as much data is generated every two days as had previously been generated since the beginning of mankind to 2003. This data is not all equally useful, and you have to be very careful how you choose what you analyse, and with which objective. Go here to discover ‘useful analytics’.
- Useful Data & Analytics. These cases have a positive business case, which means quite short payback time. Organizations can make considerable gains with short, sharp and useful initiatives. Increases in turnover combined with cost reductions of more than 20% are no exception. Go here to discover ‘useful analytics’
- Strategic Data & Analytics. Improvements that are of crucial importance to a business, which would not be possible without data & analytics. The speed, immersion, and complexity of an analysis is only possible using a smart algorithm.
Consultants and data
A growing number of advisors has entered the data & analytics concept market: intermediaries, recruiters, marketeers, event organizers, and to a lesser extent, investors. And unfortunately, the ROIs on data projects are often unspectacular. Data analytics is tricky. Especially since when done well it combines both the head and the heart of an organization, and to extract truly strategic gains you need to master both sides. Not to mention business knowledge, in-depth knowledge of data, and a background in writing algorithms. The knowledge of where and how to take the step from concept to a successful project is therefore rare and the inexperienced get stuck in conceptual terms.
Certain advisory companies earn well with the D&A Hype and D&A Capabilities. At Decisive Facts we work solely with Useful Data & Analytics and Strategic Data & Analytics as these are where the greatest, practical returns are achieved. We explain this in more detail below.
Useful data & analytics
Useful data & analytics means that an organization targets its projects with a strong, positive business case. Payback time is preferably shorter than six months – daily practice indicates that this is a realistic goal.
An algorithm is a smart way of changing people-driven processes into data-driven processes. Some examples. Selecting contacts with the highest probability of sales from a database. Determining the optimal amount of people at a call center. Determining the smartest and cheapest way to handle client claims. Determining the number of seats being overbooked on a particular flight. All these examples can deliver significant bottom-line savings with a short turnaround time.
Another example of useful D&A is optimizing existing tools. A lot of important decisions are made using spreadsheets and MS Access databases. There are easy yet significant time-savings to be made through the short-term redevelopment of a process. At the same time, you increase the quality of decision-making. The diagram below depicts the necessary steps:
It is our experience that within a couple of days you can come up with a practical plan for improvements.
Strategic data & analytics
Strategic Data & Analytics has a deeper impact on existing business processes. But the potential gains are a lot higher too. As the strategic level of a process increases, so does the human factor so that on an executive level, it requires trust between the creators of solutions and the leadership of the organization (see The human approach to data analytics).
This bond of trust is built by solving the challenge in a stepwise approach. The first step – in close cooperation with people who actually will use the solution – determines the feasibility of a change by developing a working prototype (is it possible?). The second step consist of testing the results on a small scale (is it working?). In the third step, output is key. The tools, internal and external communication, employee training and a solid technical solution that dovetails the organizational structure are crucial.
One step beyond… The human approach
While at Decisive Facts we focus solely on data that is either genuinely useful or strategic for you, we also go one step beyond the norm. Data is binary. People are human. Insights are required from both. By effectively taking on board the insights from data and your organization, we ensure greater acceptance of any change process that needs to be implemented, faster turnarounds of projects and sustainable impact.
Read here for our Human approach to data analytics.
Want to know more?
Do you want to exchange some thoughts on the possibilities of data & analytics for your organization? Are you interested in finding out what data can mean for you? Then let’s talk. We also regularly organize free group round table sessions. Get in touch to find out how you can take part.