It takes more strategic leadership to build an analytics-driven organization.
by Aaron Lazenby, May 2013
In April, I had the opportunity to connect with some accomplished IT and business leaders at the Accenture Oracle Leadership Council in Florida. The meeting featured industry analysts, Oracle experts, and senior executives from many customers jointly served by Oracle and Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services, and outsourcing firm. Some of those conversations ended up in this issue (see Accenture CTO Paul Daugherty’s thoughts on “fast data”), and I hope to see others in future issues of Profit.
But the conversation most relevant to this issue was with Brad Genson, Accenture’s managing director of Oracle business intelligence and analytics. Genson was leading an Accenture analytics showcase, so he had participated in many discussions with attendees about the strategic role of analytics. Because I was in the thick of producing a magazine issue on the same subject, we had a great time sharing our thoughts with each other. Here are a few things we agreed on:
Don’t buy new technology to run the same old reports. Most managers have some form of reporting already at work in their organization. But a new analytics system should not be deployed to simply speed access to that same information. Executives looking at analytics should take the opportunity to completely reimagine how a fresh look at enterprise data can drive their business forward.
Executive sponsors of any analytics project must have a vision for how they want to evolve their organizations—and ask questions that will help them create real business value.
Ask the right questions. Getting valuable insight from a new analytics system requires more than just turning on the software. Executive sponsors of any analytics project must have a vision for how they want to evolve their organizations—and ask questions that will help them create business value. That means truly understanding the data supply chain and focusing effort on real insight.
Add value add to existing systems. Genson reminded me that the data in existing enterprise resource planning systems is a potential gold mine for insight about operations. So while many are interested in analytics about marketing efforts, social media, online sales, and customer demand, they should not forget to query data stores about established business processes. This has potential to drive significant improvements in operating margins.
Editor in Chief, Profit