Special Section

The DNA of Business

Imprinting data in the corporate culture gives analytics-driven enterprises a strategic advantage.

Businesses are increasingly abandoning gut-feel, instinctual decision making for data-based analytics. They are now becoming analytics-driven, meaning that their corporate business plan embraces data and wields it as a competitive asset that empowers them to outmaneuver and outperform their peers. More and more organizations are placing a greater emphasis on their data and allowing it to drive decisions at every
level of the company.

An analytics-driven enterprise is more than just IT and business finding new ways to work together. This is a culture in which everyone thinks about, leverages and makes decisions based on data.

The Core of the Business

John Lucker, global advanced analytics human capital lead for Deloitte Consulting, says that tangible benefits can be derived when organizations become data-driven. “This is real value that can be generated through improvement in all those areas—business, operational, technological, processes—that take place inside a company with analytics as the DNA or the core of the initiative,” he says.

The analytic initiative provides a mechanism for keeping all employees in the organization working in lockstep to accomplish the same goals, Lucker points out. The strategy should also hold people accountable for achieving benefits from the analytics. (For more from Lucker on becoming an analytics-driven enterprise, see “Six Steps to Analytic Success.”)

Transforming into an analytics-driven organization requires a fundamental shift in thinking. Investing in the right tools and technology is no longer enough. It must be accompanied by a cultural revolution that moves a company from “data as a byproduct” to “data as a strategic asset,” and everyone from the loading dock to the C-suite has to embrace
the concept.

As part of the move to redefine analytics as an asset, organizations need to view data through business lenses and not solely as an IT responsibility. As Forrest Danson, U.S. analytics practice lead for Deloitte Consulting, explains: “It’s not just the IT organization and some information cobbled together with technology, but how do you actually look at the information as an asset and use that for decision making and as a way to differentiate your products and services?”

Drive Outcomes and Revenues

This approach can impact every area of the business—and can even play a role in determining if a company will stay in business.

“You have to be an analytics-driven and numbers-driven organization in order to survive. If you still subscribe to ‘gut feeling,’ you’re not going to be around long because sooner or later, your competition is going to catch up. Or, the market will change and you’ll miss it because you’ve kept going straight while everyone else took a left turn,” explains Spyro Karakizis, digital, data and analytics lead in Australia and New Zealand for Accenture. “Not everyone needs to be at the same maturity level, but everyone needs to have some level of analytic capability.”

Danson agrees that analytics is becoming essential across industries. “Analytics, along with other technology disrupters such as cloud computing, social networking and mobile commerce, not only enable better decision making, but they also fundamentally change your product and services and the way you compete,” he notes. “To ignore it can put you in peril.”

An analytics-driven enterprise can deliver insights into every facet of a business. Companies that embrace and act on these analytics will emerge as industry leaders. Those that don’t will get left behind.

The Future of Business

Becoming an analytics-driven enterprise entails more than simply using business intelligence (BI). Analytics offers the ability to look ahead and identify future challenges and opportunities for
the business.

“Many organizations today focus on extracting relevant data and applying analytics/BI capabilities to derive insights,” explains Mishell Meyer, digital, data and analytics practice lead for financial services in North America for Accenture. “We believe there is greater value in looking at a broader value chain view to understand what happened and why, but also what will happen next and what could happen to drive desired outcomes.”

An analytics-driven enterprise can deliver insights into every facet of a business. Companies that embrace and act on these analytics will emerge as industry leaders. Those that don’t will get left behind.

“Our clients are driving toward and understand the value of leading data-driven decision making,” Meyer says. “Analytics is not a fad. It has arrived and is squarely at the table in the C-suite.”

Dilip Krishna, director of governance, risk and regulatory strategy for Deloitte and Touche, notes that analytics-driven enterprises are here to stay. “I believe very strongly that this is not a passing trend. There are numerous institutions that we work with on a regular basis that essentially affirm this fact,” Krishna says. “Competition is increasing across the board, and everyone feels that it has to be addressed somehow.”

The Race Has Already Started

Companies that haven’t begun the analytics-driven journey may be playing catch-up. Krishna points out that some companies have already moved toward analytic approaches to business by leveraging vendor tools or using
in-house resources.

“That is already paying dividends. There are a number of organizations looking at data profitably in terms of improved throughput, response time and the rest,” Krishna said. “I don’t anticipate the trend will slow down, and I think it will actually accelerate.”

Lucker feels strongly that leadership in analytics is critical. “Every company needs to decide with every particular initiative whether or not they want to be a market leader, a fast follower or a laggard,” he notes. “To the extent that something is logically related to fact and data, to me analytics just seems inherently obvious as something that every company should be doing.”

Colleen Marble is a frequent contributor to Teradata Magazine. Her last article covered the Teradata Unified Data Architecture™. She has been writing about business, marketing and information management since 1996.

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In the context of this article, "embracing data" means that BI software, data warehousing, advanced statistics, or maybe machine learning—and much more—are all important when it comes to enabling and promoting the use of data to its fullest potential throughout your organization. Thanks for your comment. —Jennifer Niemela, Executive Editor

8/26/2013 11:41:23 AM
— Anonymous
Thanks for the great read. I have a question though- how do you define analytics? "Embracing data" sounds good, but is a bit vague. Does it mean using BI software, data warehousing, advanced statistics, or maybe machine learning? Or is it more a shift in attitude? Or all of the above?

8/14/2013 6:44:12 PM
— Anonymous
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