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Assembling the Data Puzzle with Analytics

IBM Cognos Analytics

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the data that your organization is collecting? Sales has customer histories in their CRM, Finance has product revenue information in their accounting package, Operations keeps inventory data in their inventory management system, Human Resources has employee information in their HR management tool and Marketing has consumers that are generating a wealth of data from mobile devices, computers, communications, and transactions. However, Forrester Research estimates that organizations are only using 12% of their data for analysis and insights.

Why is it that we are only using a fraction of the data that is available to us? Part of the problem is that much of the data generated and captured is being stored in silos. And most of the systems that these different departments use, simply don’t talk to each other. If we had a complete picture from all the data we collect, organizations can increase efficiency, reduce waste, and improve sales.

We all know that the amount of data available to your business is only going to increase. Companies that are able to gain insights from that data are the ones that are going to succeed. A recent survey showed that 87% of enterprises feel that big data analytics will change the competitive landscape of their industries within the next three years.

Assembling the Data Puzzle – Hypothetical company “A”
To understand how data analytics benefits an organization, sometimes it is easier to picture it in use. Imagine a hypothetical company A. Company A manufactures three lines of widgets and sells them globally. They have also implemented an analytics tool that integrates with the systems and data in each department to give a complete picture of their organization.

Lynn is an Executive Manager at company A. She has noticed that one line of widget’s European revenue has increased when some new sales tactics were implemented. So she does some what-if analyses and determines that similar results could happen in the US.

She assembles a team that includes US sales leadership, operations, marketing, and finance. A note is sent over to Mike in sales. He looks at the tactic and reviews his team to see if he has the resources available. He decides he does, but not without significant help from marketing and customer service. Mike contacts Sue, the marketing lead on the project to see how they can support the initiative.

Meanwhile, John in finance is monitoring the numbers and forecasting the impact on all departments based on the sales forecast. Dan in operations is monitoring the initiative through a custom dashboard. He has filtered it based on his criteria, including inventory management and demand forecasts. Here, he can monitor decisions in purchasing, distribution, and logistics to ensure they can maintain the inventory levels they need.

The project is gaining traction and the company is seeing results. Sue in marketing notices that there could be a similar opportunity in some of their Asian markets based on some of the social information she is tracking. She contacts Lynn on the executive team with her ideas. Lynn does some further analysis and feels it is worth a test project—and the cycle starts again.

There is so much information available to organizations today. It will be the ones who can best analyze that data to make educated decisions who will have the competitive advantage. They will be able to respond to new business opportunities, maximize profits, and improve efficiencies.

Take Bugaboo International, a Dutch design company that makes pushchairs for infants and toddlers. They wanted to reduce the time necessary to generate accurate financial and sales forecasts and broaden the scope of reporting to meet the needs of the business better. The company also wanted to reduce its management load.

“We have one easy to manage planning model containing all of the data we need to generate our financial and sales forecasts and also a wide range of other reports for the business.
– Krzysztof Pabich, business intelligence specialist at Bugaboo

If you are ready to learn more about how companies are benefiting from analytics, take the next step and download this case study, Bugaboo: faster and more accurate forecasting.

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