If I could order analytics the same way I order coffee, I’d ask for the right data with insights to go. To me, that means analytics that are easy to access, understand, process and apply to practice.
You might think, ‘that sounds nice, but is it possible?’ After all, as an analyst and data geek, even I know that it takes a lot of time and resources to set up and run analytics and the concept of having it “To Go” seems a daunting one. But it is 2017 and we have learned, advanced in technology, and adopted better practices in recent years. According to Gartner’s 2016 CIO Agenda report, business intelligence and data analytics were the top trending priority for global CIOs in 2016. In 2017 we are ready to take analytics to the next level.
Traditional analytic concepts involve lengthy reports or complex looking dashboards with detailed graphs. It focuses the user on numbers- tracking performance and weighing in the data before making decisions. Not surprisingly, it is strongly associated with BI tools; and as those tools are merely a shell for analytics and self-guided discovery, it requires time, knowledge and analytical thinking to set up the actual intelligence. It is better than nothing, of course, but it does require extensive knowledge and time investment from internal resources to setup the dashboard. Further, it takes more time and effort for a user to grasp what is displayed and then transfer it into an actionable result. Remember that we’re driving towards results- we do not do analytics just to keep ourselves entertained with numbers! Numbers should drive action. And this is where the analytics “To Go” concept comes in place.
Analytics “To Go” not only offers you an answer to your question within minutes but also drives an action that will bring positive impact to your business. It is built up intelligently around business operations with the purpose of delivering insights, not just numbers. From a big picture perspective: As a manager of the territory is your goal to know all sales numbers by month, by product, by dealer, or by timeframe? Or is it to develop the territory to its fullest potential? The latter involves understanding what potential the territory might have, understand it quickly, and understand how to get your territory there. Following these principles with analytics “to go,” a territory manager’s morning routine could be a quick 15 min check on key developments in his/her territory, index of opportunity for different geo zones, progress to date and a list of actions such as: share list of potential repeat buyers of product A with dealer B, complete inventory order for dealer C, meet with potential dealer in zip code X, etc.
Analytical workflows that close the loop with action driven results are the new best practices. Of course, there are multiple other metrics and reports that may be necessary to run day to day operations but the bottom line is that they should not take 90% of your available time. An overall strategy must provide guidance towards the right operational tactics and give the right content to make the best decisions. Therefore, in the morning when I get my coffee to go I want my analytics to go as well. I want to navigate through easy to understand insights and lists of best actions that will help me have an efficient and successful day and year.