A lot of focus has been placed on advanced and predictive analytics, and rightfully so. I have written many posts and have spoken publically on the merits of advanced analytics for several years now.
What I find disorienting and misleading are marketers harping on how important it is to adopt advanced analytics right now. The thing that they just don’t get (or maybe they don’t want to get?) is that an organization will need to transcend a series of analytical maturity levels before they can truly capitalize on the benefits of advanced and predictive analytics.
In my over 20 years of experience working for clients across a multitude of industries I have often seen the classic ‘run before you walk’ mentality that ultimately hobbles organizations and puts them in performance tailspins. What they all need to do is, take a deep breath, and get down to brass tacks:
What are the daily activities that you must make sure are running smoothly in order to maintain optimal performance so you can sleep at night?
Isn’t that straightforward enough? This introspection not only validates what your objectives are, but it gives rise to what are known as key performance drivers (KPDs); the simple metrics that tell you how you are doing right now and what needs to be done now before things go sideways. I like this definition by John Colbert: ‘KPD metrics measure aspects of the business process or value stream that directly affect results or outcomes. If KPDs are actionable and monitored in a timely manner, they can be used to make operational decisions and drive actions that can positively impact business outcomes‘.
Bottlenecks, backlogs, outstanding work, time remaining to complete work, etc…all of these are simple KPDs that tell you whether you will sleep tonight. If this concept is foreign to you, pursuing advanced analytics would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Here is a five step plan:
Step 1) Think about what what you need to be doing right and translate that into actionable metrics that are concisely and visually rendered on a dashboard.
Step 2) Buy a 50 inch monitor and thin-client PC with WiFi from Best Buy.
Step 3) Connect PC to monitor with an HDMI cable.
Step 4) Mount them on a wall (or on a stand sitting on a filing cabinet)
Step 5) Fire off the dashboard, have it refresh regularly, to reveal a) what is going on right now and b) what needs to be done.
‘Dino, dashboards?! That’s so passé! You’ve got to use a classifier model with high accuracy that can predict when you are most likely to…’
Folks, don’t get caught up in the cute buzzwords and techno-lingo used by fancypants marketers who think they’re Don Draper from Mad Men. This is about your business. This is about getting down to brass tacks. Predictive is powerful, but you need to start with the basics first if you want to develop your corporate analytical maturity and capability. You would be shocked to see how transformational the above five-step plan really is, because it gets down to the core of what you do, it is actionable, and it makes accountability crystal clear. And it’s simple.
Do likewise and walk first…then run.
Let your journey continue.