In addition to aligning business strategy to analytics, leveraging business intelligence also means making business better. In most organizations, there are gaps in performance, lack of visibility, unhappy customers, etc. Part of the way to improve the internal workings within the organization is to ensure that analytics and business process improvement are tightly coupled. Making sure analytics is not only about data movement, reports, and metrics, but also about how people can leverage information more effectively, helps create an environment that supports constant improvements. The way in which people go about their daily tasks is affected by how data is consumed. Taking this into account while evaluating analytics requirements can create a better solution and overall work environment.
Many organizations complain about lack of customer visibility. Someone calls into a call center with a complaint and gets more frustrated as they are transferred multiple times or placed on hold while the company they call into tries to develop a full picture to understand the problem, solution, and resolve the issue. Many times customers become frustrated, and in more than one case in my own experience, this leads to customer churn or more complaints and company bashing via social media. After all, why would I continue to use a product or service when support is not seamless.
This is just one of many examples that highlight the value of a holistic approach to data management. Additionally, it also shows that if data and business processes are not aligned, organizations might experience high customer churn, supply chain inefficiencies, the inability to act upon insights effectively, and the list goes on. Where data fits within the process and its accessibility to those who need it can make the difference between successful analytics projects and time and money wasted to create an infrastructure and set of solutions that do not provide business value.
Making sure that customers are happy, meeting targets, and ensuring high ROI and low TCO require the ability to align analytics and business processes. Understanding rules for escalations or how to address inefficiencies in supply chain are examples of business processes that require tight alignment with data. Understanding the data associated with daily processes helps make daily operations run more smoothly.
Many companies overlook the importance of tying business processes and analytics together. For analytics to be valuable to the organization, end users need to be able to act upon data and ensure that they are enhancing overall efficiencies. This expands beyond creating a set of dashboards that simply show metrics or enable self-service interactivity, towards the development of applications that enable more visibility into data throughout the data that supports all aspects of a person’s job.
Because we interact with data all the time, organizations should start looking beyond siloed approaches to data related activities. Data needs to be embedded within applications so that it is accessible. Although potentially considered altruistic and not the way many organizations look at analytics, within recent EMA research about cloud analytics adoption, 16.6% of respondents leverage analytics for more visibility into operations and enhanced business processes. As organizations become more strategic in their approach to cloud, this number will increase.