Start Small, Get Big Results with Business Analytics

DQI Bureau
New Update

Do you go with a gut feeling because you lack accurate and complete data or do you have visibility into your processes, performance, offerings and customers to support smart, fact based decisions? With business data today growing at exponential rates, the need is increasing to gather, analyze, and use data wisely. In a highly instrumented, interconnected and intelligent world, business analytics can help your organization achieve valuable insights and build competitive strengths.


Using business analytics, a smart organization of any size can enhance opportunities for profitable growth, optimize the allocation and deployment of resources and capital, and proactively manage risk. Your company will then no longer be overwhelmed by vast amounts of data, but instead can turn that data into a business advantage. With the help of Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO) practice, companies can understand the consequences of any business decision allowing them to operate at a new level of intelligence, far beyond sense and respond.


Need for Smart Decision-making

In todays increasingly interconnected world, its the ability to turn the vast amounts of data being generated by our smarter planet into actionable decisions, and technology offers that ability.

The combination of the internet, globalization, and affordable technologies that can gather and analyze data, is providing businesses with unprecedented insight about their markets, their suppliers, and their customers. In short, while the world is getting flatter and smaller, its also becoming a lot smarter.


Know When Youre Ready

A company considering a business analytics implementation should ask early in the process what it would be doing with its data. it is advisable to create an information-driven business culture that collects and analyzes data, presents information in a way that enhances insight, and empowers actions that align resources with decisions. Eighty one percent of the most successful companies and 20-25% more than average or underperforming companies say that they have a plan that makes these 3 goals possible. So if your answer includes any or all of these goals, youre ready to get started with BAO.


Implement your Solution Appropriately

Once you have determined that business analytics can benefit your company, you will need to identify the area where it will have the most impact. Many companies find the greatest return on investment in business productivity and processes, with additional benefits in technology operations.

A recent study by Aberdeen Group found that among top-performing consumer products and retail companies who use business analytics, 57% employed it to improve operational relationships with their retail distributors, and 50% used it in working with partner companies. Forty three percent used business analytics in working with logistics and transportation providers, and 35% used it in working with materials and parts suppliers. Significantly, only a small number of top performing companies21%used it only for internal purposes.


Follow Key Steps for Success with Analytics

Wherever you deploy business analytics, there are key steps to follow. The first is to carefully examine your analytical needsfrom data sources to data users, including how people use data, why they use it, and how quickly they need analysis. This will lay the foundation for an analytics strategy that supports a data-driven company.

Early and sustained attention to data, quality, and governance are important. Regular and ongoing internal and external reviews of processes and metrics are required too.


But always keep an eye on the business goalanalyzing data to achieve useful and actionable information. Your implementation should empower non-technical users with information delivery, reporting, and visualization capabilities that they can employ on a self-service basis.

It is also important to keep an eye on the implementation rate. An extensive data warehouse is not required to reap benefits. It is advisable to start small while planning future ways to use the analyses and ways to expand into different areas of business. An incremental strategy that builds on small successes lets you start with the types of reports, analysis or planning functions you need first. In finance, for example, business analytics can address cash flow, balance sheets, or profit and loss. For the workforce, it can address salary planning, project management or resource planning. In customer relations, it can address profitability, marketing effectiveness, and customer churn.


Choosing Broad, Easy-to-use Capabilities

Its obvious that business analytics can produce a lot of results. To get those results, a solution with a comparable range of capabilities is needed.

  • A business analytics solution should have broad capabilities for a wide range of usesfrom financial to production, operational and transactional. It should provide both managed and ad hoc reportsand export information in standardized formats that are useful in the context of business, even when they draw on information generated by heterogenous technologies.
  • The solution should be modular, enabling the organization to start with the functions it needs, whether reporting, querying, analysis, visualization, planning, budgeting or forecasting.
  • It should be easy to use, reducing the time required for training and enabling non-technical staff to perform complex tasks such as drill-downs and dashboard creation. Ease of use will support rapid adoption and the creation of an information-driven business culture.
  • Functionality should be preconfigured not only to reduce deployment time for IT but to support self-service among users. Simplified implementation and management can reduce the burden on IT staff. Ongoing administration by non-IT staff can increase your return on investment.

Success is Proven with BA

Marico, one of the top FMCG brands in India has adopted Business Analytics solution for supporting their rapid growth. As Marico began building its business, making new acquisitions and expanding operations to international markets, they needed to replace the old, worksheet based budgeting, planning and finance reporting system to incorporate the drastic surge in business. They decided on a BA solution that was flexible enough to keep pace with changing consumer demands, demanded low-maintenance and enabled superior analysis giving them a significant edge in the area of Financial Performance Management just like they wanted.

Another case in point, MindTree, a global IT solutions company specializing in IT services and software product engineering was earlier using Excel Spreadsheets for annual planning and budgeting. The existing process was de-centralized and needed more efficiency, control and transparency. MindTree needed a robust enterprise-wide reporting tool that had better presentation layer and could report against a larger canvas of systems. Again, a leading business analytics tool was adopted by MindTrees finance and IT to reduce the complexity and cycle time of the annual planning process, enable collaboration for senior management across locations and integration with the existing ERP platform.

In todays global market, competitive advantage will shift to those companies who can quickly capture, analyze, share and use information to make smarter decisions and deliver increased value to clients. It is time to hook onto this technology!