Companies have widely embraced the use of analytics to streamline operations and improve processes. But implementing analytics data that informs intelligent and effective business decisions is not as easy as a snap of the fingers.
In a survey conducted by Bloomberg Businessweek Research Services, nearly 97% of respondents reported their companies have adopted analytics. The three most sought-after goals were the ability to reduce costs, increase profitability and improve risk management. However, many organizations struggle with making sure the data is accurate and consistent.
Analytics data is everywhere and sorting through it to find what is useful and pertinent to your business is a necessary skill to be effective in the current marketplace. These days, analytics is being used to determine everything from Supreme Court case outcomes to personalized marketing efforts. The challenge is to understand how analytics can help your business and begin to address any issues you believe are most important to short- and long-term success.
Analyzing data more often than not increases efficiency, but also helps identify new business opportunities that may have been otherwise overlooked, such as untapped customer segments. In doing so, the potential for growth and profitability becomes endless and more intelligence based.
Many professionals can discern short-term trends, but are less proficient at predicting obstacles that plague their business down the road. Computer models based on data analytics help companies see shifts in what customers buy and give a clear picture of what products should be highlighted or updated. Whether it’s a production concern, a customer service issue or a deficiency among your employees, analytics can help to highlight key areas of concern when it comes to your venture’s ability to make a profit.
Big data has also been used as an HR tool to recruit perspective job candidates. Collecting data from many different sources allows companies to assess a candidate’s skills and traits to help determine how they could fit into the corporate culture and workplace.
Shipping companies are tasked with the logistics challenge of delivering millions of packages each day. Many have turned to analytics to maximize the performance and reliability of their vehicles. By looking at sensor data from each vehicle within a shipping fleet, companies can keep track of the state of the parts in the vehicle and determine what parts may prove to be problematic.
Addressing problem areas before they become major issues makes it possible for companies to ensure their vehicles stay on the road and don't interrupt the flow of business – reducing driver downtime, overall maintenance cost and customer dissatisfaction. By incorporating analytics into their approach to mechanical maintenance, the shipping industry has made itself more efficient.
An analysis by McKinsey & Company showed that using data to make better marketing decisions can increase marketing productivity by 15-20%. A good example of this is retail giant Target's “pregnancy prediction score.” Target assigns a score based on a customer’s purchases that indicate the possibility of a pregnancy; the retailer uses purchase data to determine the types of coupons and special discounts Target would send to a customer's email address.
There is a ton of information companies can use for predictive analytics that help streamline a customer's experience with a brand. Finding the right tools to examine your customer’s buying and Internet browsing habits, and implementing them to provide reliable and actionable intelligence can activate buyer instincts and embed your brand into customers’ minds.
Through data analysis, business operators can get a clearer view of what they are doing efficiently and inefficiently within their organizations. When a problem is identified, professionals with an analytics background are capable of answering crucial questions such as:
Data mining and analysis will help you answer these questions and have confidence that you’re moving forward with the best approach. Data is now capable of improving any business process, whether it’s streamlining the communication in your supply chain or improving the quality and relevance of your offerings.