Transforming your Business with Analytics

In previous posts, I discussed why industry-leading organizations are those that revolve around analytics, take advantage of the processing power of big data technologies like Hadoop, understand the role of IT in realizing the business benefits of big data and analytics, and have a data-oriented culture ready and willing to execute on actionable business insights derived from data.

While more organizations are embracing analytics, many are not achieving an enterprise-wide view of their business. These organizations “haven’t achieved a level of maturity where the business units have called off the armed guards surrounding the information silos,” explained Aiman Zeid, Head of Organizational Transformation Services for SAS Global Business Consulting, in his new book Business Transformation: A Roadmap for Maximizing Organizational Insights.

Many organizations,” Zeid explained, “have multiple ad hoc and individual analytics efforts attempting to generate insight. This approach is not very effective, is not replicable, and can result in a lot of redundancies (with their attendant costs). A well-planned business and organizational transformation is needed to make the proper changes to move from the ad-hoc approach to a more repeatable process to use analytics to derive business insight.”

Of course, you can’t transform what you don’t understand. Which is why the first place an organization must focus its analytics is on itself. After all, insight comes from the inside out and an organization that isn’t generating enough business insight needs to analyze its inner workings. This includes cataloging existing data sources, hardware and software platforms, applications, and systems, as well as building a matrix identifying where and when they are used and how they relate to business processes. The combined analysis of the existing data, technology, and business landscape allows the organization to assess the strengths and weakness of its existing information foundation—including the structures blocking an enterprise-wide view of its business.

“Deriving business insight,” Zeid explained, “depends on developing an enterprise information foundation to properly integrate data from all business units in the organization. Organizations also have to take advantage of external and unstructured data. You need a comprehensive approach to evolve your current information management practices to generate more insight. You need to promote the use of analytics and insight across the organization in a repeatable and effective way.”

While technology can be a great facilitator and enabler, especially in improving infrastructure capabilities, technology alone will neither complete nor maintain this business transformation. For that you need the other organizational foundations to support analytics: skilled people, solid information processes, and, perhaps most important, a cultural commitment to derive the most business value from data. Only a corporate culture, Zeid explained, “that encourages collaboration, innovation, and sharing, and appropriately rewards people for promoting and enhancing a business and analytical culture can create ongoing value.”

This post is brought to you by SAS.