“Data is your best friend. It takes out ambiguity and helps level the playing field.”
I heard this at a seminar and it stuck with me. Numbers are great. They are objective. They help us quantify.
According to Harvard Business Review, companies using data driven decision-making were 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors.
Gartner predicts “Big Data will deliver transformational benefits to enterprises, enabling enterprises adopting this technology to outperform competitors by 20% in every available financial metric.” The “transformational benefits,” however, will be delivered to very few enterprises according to another Gartner prediction: More than 85 percent of Fortune 500 organizations will fail to effectively exploit big data for competitive advantage.”
Per Susan Reda, Stores: in a scorecard published by Oracle Corp., 93 percent of C-level executives believe their organizations are losing revenue — as much as 10 percent per year, an average of $50.5 million — by not being able to fully leverage the information they collect. Among retail executives, 30 % give their organization a “D” or “F” in preparedness to manage the data deluge.
Why is this happening?
One reason is that executives are faced with a mountain of data and have not the foggiest idea of what to do with it.
We are in our 15th year of approaching and re-approaching this problem. We started with canned reports (report that were pre-built for our clients): Enter a couple of variables and a report is returned, often with charts, graphs or maps.
As the market got more sophisticated, people wanted to set up reports the way their teams were used to seeing them. So we added software offerings to enable the user (not us or their IT departments) to build reports and dashboards, share them – even email them automatically.
Our latest creation addresses another problem: People with experience don’t have the time and people with time don’t have the experience. This software uses Artificial Intelligence and Expert Learning to sift through millions of rows of data to objectively score and display the most important metrics. It then presents to the user this data in charts, grids, and maps along with a plain English narrative on why each panel of data is important. Those panels contain links to deeper levels of data. There is no set up for people without time or experience. A user is off and running the first time he or she logs in. What’s more, the software understands the user’s preference to refine the reporting to what that user deems to be important.
If the data is easy to digest and actionable, I believe more executives will take advantage of it.