The Intelligent Enterprise takes shape


Business leaders are beginning to see the transformative power of data analytics to increase competitiveness, drive differentiation, reduce cost and foster business agility.  According to a recent MIT Sloan School of Business survey, many senior executives are now actively looking at how their collected data is being synthesized and used to dramatically redesign the way their organization’s go to market, get closer to their customers, and enable new business models.

In 2010, the Sloan School of Business surveyed almost 3,000 global executives on their goals, lessons and results around using data analytics.  Below are some of the highlights of the research:

Increased use of analytics correlates with higher performance

The results were striking:  There is a strong correlation between the degree of data analytics in an organization and their business performance.  Top performing firms were three times more likely to employ sophisticated data analytics than lower performing firms.  As an example, thought leaders referenced in the survey reported that higher levels of IT and analytics capabilities correspond to disproportionate increases in productivity gains. Moreover, top analytics performers reported greater ease and skill in handling the copious amounts of collected data than less advanced organizations.

Innovation is the number one business priority

 “Innovation to achieve competitive differentiation” was seen as the most prominent business priority (> 60% of respondents) as opposed to growing revenues, reducing costs and getting closer to customers.  Top performing companies were two times more likely to see analytics as a means of enabling innovation.  Examples of this innovation include new ways for companies to collect, synthesize and utilize data as well as the organizational structures and processes to support them.

Powerful analytics is more than just CRM

Building analytics excellence goes beyond ubiquitous data collection and data mining.  Intelligent Enterprises employ other powerful capabilities to help turn raw data into usable information that improves customer segmentation & targeting, fosters 1:1 relationships and enables supply chain efficiencies. These other components include data visualization, choice modeling & mathematical optimization and simulation & scenario building. 

Limited analytics knowledge is the major short-term adoption barrier

According to the survey, two out of the top three adoption barriers centered on a lack of specialized knowledge, resources and management vision.  Furthermore, this knowledge gap extended beyond employees directly responsible for analytics.  Most knowledge workers in areas like marketing, sales and operations need to be more comfortable and proficient in the new data-driven workplace.

Culture is critical to making analytics stick in the organization

Wishful thinking will not bring about the Intelligent Enterprise.  New technologies and methodologies must be accompanied by a shift in culture and organizational design.  In particular, management must be amenable to data-driven insights becoming core to decision-making (as opposed to hunches, history or best practice); information rights and communication flows must be expanded across the organizational and; traditional roles and structure must be tweaked to best exploit the use of the insights.  At the same time, responsibility for analytics must be centralized to ensure data integrity, clear ownership, easy access and operational efficiency.

Experimentation is the most practical implementation strategy

Most respondents emphasized the importance of conducting multiple experiments – as opposed to detailed planning – in order to best determine where and how the Intelligent Enterprise can take root.  Moreover, a ‘testing and learning’ approach was seen as a lower risk strategy for gauging organizational and cultural fit as well as setting priorities and generating early wins.  The respondents also reported that IT is not the driving force in the Intelligent Enterprise – although they are integral to its success.  Other departments (e.g., marketing, operations) as well as autonomous business units that have their own P&Ls are typically leading the charge.

For more information on our services and work, please visit the Quanta Consulting Inc. web site.

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9 comments so far

  1. […] reading here: The Intelligent Enterprise takes shape « Mitchell Osak Online Uncategorized   between-the-degree, business-performance, degree, employ-sophisticated, […]

  2. Kyle McGuffin on

    Mitch great post. The information is there and now we must learn how to utilize the true power of web analytics. Lets get caught up soon.

    Kyle McGuffin

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