Normally I write about what I know. Today I’m writing about what I wonder.
In case you haven’t already noticed from previous posts, I’m really passionate about sport. Born and raised in Melbourne, the home of Australian Sport, it really isn’t a surprise. Which is why I’m so interested in how analytics is being used to transform the world of sport.
In previous posts I’ve talked about how analytics is helping the Leicester Tigers better predict and prevent injury in players, and how social media is determining a whole new dimension of “winner” in the Grand Slam Tennis tournaments.
But I wonder, can analytics help us to identify junior and amateur players that have the greatest potential to turn pro?
The ability to analyse data and derive insight within the confines of your own desktop is one thing. It’s an entirely different experience when you include the ability to manage budgets, forecasts and planning models within the same interactive workspace.
Married to a Chartered Accountant, I’m all too familiar with the intricate copying, pasting, calculations and hidden functions required to create an interactive forecast using Microsoft Excel. Which begs the question: should I tell him how much easier his life could be using software for which interactivity is an inherent part of its DNA?
If IBM Cognos BI is the Queen, and IBM Cognos TM1 is the King, then IBM Cognos Insight is the Prince of Performance Management. Which is why, this week’s Cognos Insight challenge was to analyse the past three years worth of income and expenses for the Prince of Wales, and create a forward-looking forecast to help him manage his Jubilee year budget.
A customer calls the help desk and gets routed through to you. They are not happy with the service they are getting from your company. You have to decide whether to make them an offer to keep them, or let them leave to a competitor. They may or may not be a profitable customer. They may or may not accept one particular offer over another. You may or may not have enough money left in the promotional campaign budget to make an offer. You have 30 seconds to determine the fate of this customer relationship and the impact on your revenue targets. Your time starts….NOW!
If you’ve even gone through the painful process of building a house, you would know that most architects don’t start a floorplan from scratch. More often than not, they’ll show you a series of blueprints similar to what you have in mind and make modifications in line with your vision.
They do this to save time and money, but also because it gives a good starting point and gets the conversation flowing. How often have you been asked “What do you want?” when you simply don’t know. But, given an example of what you could have, find it easily to pick out the flaws and suggest modifications.
Why should the design process for Business Analytics applications be any different?
Imagine sitting behind the wheel of a car, blind-folded, and being asked to “just drive“. Which way do you turn? Do you drive forwards or put the vehicle in reverse? Whether you’re driving a racing car or tractor, the risk of driving straight into the path of oncoming traffic or down a ditch is equally daunting.
And yet that is how many companies still expect their decision makers to operate. Whether steering a vehicle or an organisation, the importance of having clear insight into everything around you is imperative to making the right decision.
I must confess I am, and always have been, an Enterprise gal. My entire career has been spent in the company of large organisations and big-name brands – Qantas, Australia Post, Telstra, NAB, ANZ, Vodafone, BHP, Toll…if you can recognise the logo, chances are I’ve worked with- or for- them in the past 13 years.
Like their small to mid-sized counterparts, large Enterprises can’t escape the fundamental challenge of meeting the analytical needs of departments with a department-sized budget. For many, an Enterprise-wide approach to analytics is simply not realistic. The challenge of course, is being able to meet the needs of the department, with the comfort that as the organisation grows, the departmental solution can scale to meet the changing needs of the business.
A wise leader once said, “It’s not the length of experience that counts, it’s the intensity.” So when IBM was looking for volunteers to promote and facilitate Business Analytics Experience workshops, I jumped at the chance. More than just a set of presentations or product demonstrations, it gives customers “a day in the life” of an executive who has access to the information they need to make more informed decisions, and drive better business outcomes.
With the latest release of the BAE dedicated to the Office Of Finance, I can even sit my husband down and show him what he’s missing out on!