HiTech IT and Tech
Analytics as competitive advantage: Start with hindsight
23 Jul 2017

“Want to go Digital but where to start?” is a question lot of large businesses are facing. Does one get the data organized first or power an Analytics use case? Or, Both?

In our previous blog on Analytics as a Competitive Advantage, we had summarized the dilemma business leaders and CIOs face as they look towards going Digital and using Analytics to drive decisions.

Too old? Where should one start?

At Praxis, we are helping several organizations cross this chasm. And, 5 learnings we have working with well-established businesses are:

  • Convince your mind before your people: First things first, Analytics-driven transformation is a journey. It will yield benefits but takes some time to bear fruit, as data takes time to mature, people train themselves on new skills and all suppliers/partners/functions get used to the new way of decision making. And that’s why, it is important for business leaders to first convince themselves of the value. Picking up a not-so-priority use case as a dipstick to see how Analytics works is a recipe for failure.
  • Get started with an ‘easy to win but important’ use case irrespective of how fragmented or incomplete the data is: You feel you don’t have enough data. But your ERP, DMS, F&A system, CRM, Transaction databases all put together to have enough data to get you started. In our experience, taking the first step – more as a challenge, not just a dipstick – is important to unlock the potential. “The data is unclean” or “The data is fragmented” or “The data history is not enough” might just be a case of your teams not knowing the potential of what you have. In a recent case, we saw a client disregarding their CRM as it was not connected with the Customer transaction database. But we were able to link the unique identifiers by using several rules-of-thumb.
  • Pull together the Cross-Functional Team early: Unintuitive it may sound but using Analytics as a test case in a silo might not drive enough energy in the organization than one that needs more cross-functional participation. One of the first use cases we are implementing at a client is Pricing – a subject that needs Marketing, Sales, Finance, Production, and Supply chain to participate along with the IT and the business users. Since the topic is so important, it has not been too difficult to rally different functions behind the initiative once the CEO and the Business owners have stressed on the importance.
  • Let the Business start, but let the IT lead: Excluding IT might be the biggest mistake in building traction. While the IT or CIO functions might be more used to the traditional ways of working, not taking them along will create unnecessary detraction in the organization. In fact, it is better for the IT to feel ownership of the tools or approaches and transform their own role from a ‘systems provider’ to ‘business partner’
  • Use cases that analyze history (‘Hindsight’) are the easiest: Analyzing known problems and providing unique visibility to avoid known problems is value enough for large organizations to acknowledge the power of Analytics. MIS-based reporting is often inadequate in analyzing the ‘root causes’ and does not aid decision making as it should, i.e. with the right ‘what-if’ analyses and scenarios that simulate business outcomes. Even intelligent reporting of past data to streamline governance can be the first good step towards organizing the vast amounts of ‘distributed’ data.
The journey to truly using Digital to transform your organization starts with small steps. 

Let the vision be big but it should come in the way of securing and celebrating initial small wins.

Superior, more user-friendly view of ‘Hindsight’ can get people excited about Analytics

Authored by (at the time of writing):
Madhur Singhal, Leader, HiTech IT and Tech Practice
Aryaman Tandon, Leader, HiTech IT and Tech Practice

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