The 5 Imperatives of the Analytics Age Executive – Stratalytica™

In Analytics Age, Stratalytica™ by Stratalytigist0 Comments

For executives resistant to the implementation of an analytics environment – that is, an automated technology system to collate, correlate, store, and perform analysis on data about your business, your organization, your processes, your customers, and your marketplace – the idea of organizational proficiency in analytics might seem far-fetched.  Yet, analytics systems have been around in one form or another for over fifty years.  So what makes the implementation and mastery of an analytics environment so necessary at this moment in business history?  Author Michael Nielsen answers the query in his 2011 book, Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by saying, “We’ll see this as the time in history when the world’s information was transformed from an inert, passive state, and put into a unified system that brings that information alive.”  The book, The Human Face of Big Data, emphasizes the need for Nielsen’s “unified system” with a quote from Eric Schmidt, Executive Chariman of Google that states, “From the dawn of civilization until 2003, humankind generated five exabytes of data. Now we produce five exabytes every two days … and the pace is accelerating.”
The mandate of the Analytics Age executive is to utilize available insights to maximize corporate and shareholder value through insight-driven cost reductions, value discovery, and product or services innovation.
Bryant Avey, Chief Geek, internuntius
Nielsen’s unified system and Schmidt’s accelerating data are just two examples of the forces uniting to create what will feel – to many – like a seismic change in the world of work.  Of course the most significant driver of transformation in the world of work is the increased volume and availability of data.  There exists an inexorable nature to these forces, a resolve that requires action, rather than resistance.  Companies that embrace the transformation of the enterprise from the static, inert behemoth of the past will find that being insight-driven is both empowering and exciting. Insight empowers your organization to know, to understand, and to act, which serves to eliminate the fear in the eternal pursuit of customer value and innovation initiatives.

In any organizational transformation, the first step is to establish a global set of values. In the Analytics Age, there are 5 key imperatives that will help you set values for your insight-driven initiatives.

Imperative 1

In the Analytics Age, data is no longer passive. It becomes a highly valuable asset. Broadened beyond the confines of the reporting realm, data serves multiple functions on multiple levels and throughout the organization, from HR to marketing.

Imperative One

Data is a product or services generator, a problem-solver, and a customer initiative generator. There is a burgeoning need for insight-driven products and services. New capabilities can be developed by wrapping data insight into new product offerings and product/service integration.

Imperative 2

In the Analytics Age, new roles and skills are added to reinvigorate the organization.

Imperative Two

Analytics sophistication requires staff with the ability to blend data analysis, business knowledge, strategic thinking, customer experience design, and process management, along with understanding how to work with data and analytics tools.

Imperative 3

In the Analytics Age, data architectures are no longer one size fits all. In the past, you could have a snowflake or star schema architecture. These architectures took an organization’s data and separated it into silos that didn’t talk to one another. Data silos are responsible for many of the reporting nightmare stories circulating around the dark side of the office water cooler

Imperative Three

In the Analytics Age, the key word underlying your company’s data architecture is integration. An Integration Architecture allows your business to integrate and relate hundreds of data sources tying all enterprise systems together. Single source of truth is just not possible without integration.

Imperative 4

In the Analytics Age, Integration Architecture brings your business data together for those important Kum-bah-yah moments, but Automation is the second key word of Analytics Age empowerment. The speed of data flow requires the rapid delivery of decision-making-insight to capitalize on competitive advantage.

Imperative Four

Integration begets automation and automation allows your organization to auto-pilot both strategy and smart decision-making through technology. This liberates your organization to focus on creating new business and customer value.

Imperative 5

Finally, the Fifth Imperative: In the Analytics Age, organizations with integrated data architectures and automated strategy and decision-making can deploy these tools throughout the workforce with both internal and external apps.

Imperative Five

Internal apps are automated processes that provide employees with in-the-moment decision making instructions. External apps are customer-centric, providing the customer with curated experiences, attention economy experiences, or innovation or services value experiences.

Conclusion

The geek-elite will remember the words of Star Trek’s Borg Collective: “Resistance is futile.”  The same is true for business leaders revolting against the Analytics Age.  Resistance is futile.  Resistance to knowing more and doing more with that knowledge is the path to business obsolescence.  Even so, the Stratalytigist still encounters executives resistant to the idea of implementing even the most basic analytics system.  In those cases, a bit of anecdotal evidence might be preferred.  Consider the following sad statistic: Over the last 20 years there has been a 35% increase in Fortune 1000 failures.  These failures could be a result of poor capitalization, or any number of other factors, but what if the failures are a result of lack of knowledge? Blockbuster was a company that failed, filing for bankruptcy in 2010 because of challenges from companies like Redbox and Netflix. Conversely, in October of 2013, Netflix, a leader in the use of analytics, had to caution investors about their exuberance as share prices climbed 430% in a year from $55 to $330, posting the largest gain on the S&P 500.  While Blockbuster was purchased by Dish Network in 2011, Netflix has continued to thrive, surpassing HBO in the number of subscribers with 33 million in 2014, and adding 10 million subscribers internationally.

As previously stated, the comparison between Blockbuster and its upstart rival Netflix is anecdotal.  There were flaws in Blockbuster’s service model. They weren’t prepared for the economic crash of 2008.  Nevertheless, Blockbuster’s primary failure lay in the company’s inability to keep customers connected.  Understanding customer needs and wants has continued to serve Netflix well.  Having conquered Blockbuster, they have since overtaken HBO’s subscriber base and are now producing content as part of their customer service offerings, using data from customer ratings and preferences. Even with the insight afforded by analytics, CEO Reed Hastings has had missteps, but Hastings’ willingness to pivot so that Netflix is customer-centric, rather than expecting the customer to reorient to the business is the epitome of an Analytics Age company.  Without access to an analytics environment to gain insight, it would have been far more difficult for Netflix to reach the level of success it has achieved, or respond to customers as quickly and efficiently.  Hastings acknowledged the role technology plays in achievement at a 2011 education summit saying, “Stone Age. Bronze Age. Iron Age. We define entire epics of humanity by the technology they use…”

Welcome to the Analytics Age where insight-driven companies like Netflix are already changing the playing field in their respective markets.  Ultimately, there will be many more companies, like Blockbuster, that give way to insight-driven competitors simply because they don’t know what they don’t know.  The 5 Imperatives of the Analytics Age can help you develop an Analytics Age strategy so that your company won’t be one of them.