WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT...
A wise man once said: “change is inevitable, growth is optional”.
With the future looking more uncertain than ever, future-proofing your organisation has never been more important.
In this article, we’ll discuss the different ways in which analytics can be used to increase your competitive advantage and help you to thrive even when the odds are against you.
See and respond to changes in real-time
There’s no doubt that organisations that are able to respond to changes quickly are better equipped for success.
One of the criteria Mckinsey lay out in their five trademarks of agile organisations is that “Technology is seamlessly integrated and core to every aspect of the organization as a means to unlock value and enable quick reactions to business needs.”
This means that evolving from a “hindsight mentality” that tries to accompany change once it’s already happened; to embracing an approach that identifies and responds to changes as they happen in the moment, is necessary.
…And this is where analytics comes in.
BI and analytics technology can provide you with a real-time view of your organisation so that you can easily adapt systems to changing business strategies and realities.
This means that you’ll be able to provide products and services that meet changing customer requirements, match your outputs to available resources, and ultimately make smarter decisions.
Plan for different possible scenarios
There are two types of organisations: those that are reactive and those that are proactive.
While reactive businesses simply try and diffuse an already burning fire, proactive organisations identify the risk factors involved and question not only what they need to do to prevent the fire, but also whether there any hidden opportunities that are accompanied with the disaster.
The good news is that even if you currently fall under the first category, analytics can easily change this.
Certain analytics technologies provide scenario planning capabilities, which enable you to model different possible scenarios and outcomes. This can supercharge the effectiveness of your decision-making, as it essentially gives you front-row seats to see how different decisions will impact your organisation – all without having to commit to one particular course of action.
What’s more, when this scenario modelling is “multi-dimensional”, you can see how change in one area of the business will directly impact on the other areas, so that you can ensure that your whole business is optimised for success.
This means that whether it’s a change in legislation, cuts in funding or changes in your company structure – you can plan and prepare in advance and reduce the risk of any nasty surprises.
Spend more time on what matters
Chances are, if you’re not using analytics to carry out your planning, you’re probably relying solely on spreadsheets.
Whilst spreadsheets are widely seen as the building blocks of planning, relying on spreadsheets alone is neither a reliable or efficient way of preparing for the future.
Think of the number of different spreadsheets in your department alone and think of how many hours are spent in a typical week updating these… the answer is probably “too many”. At the surface, the cost-efficiency of this may seem to outweigh the cons, but the reality is that repeat administration tasks hold you back.
A better approach would be to utilise an analytics planning solution to automate these time-consuming admin tasks in order to simplify your planning, budgeting and forecasting processes.
This would ultimately remove the need for data input-led roles and allow the costs associated with these positions to be better utilised in higher-value tasks. Not only does this provide financial benefits in terms of ROI, but it also works to the advantage of employees by allowing them to focus on ‘what they’re trained to do’ over routine tasks.
Ultimately, analytics gives you more time to spend on the initiatives that really matter so that you can be assured that your organisation is in the best position possible to meet its objectives.
Full organisation view of your planning
Without a holistic picture of your organisation, it’s impossible to safeguard it against future changes. While localised planning limited to individual departments and teams may be convenient, it doesn’t offer the scale of impact needed for success. To truly prepare for the future, the whole organisation has to be on board.
Another downside of relying on spreadsheets alone to plan is that they’re simply not designed to tell the whole story. With different teams using different spreadsheets, input methods and analysis techniques; and with little collaboration between this data, the task of collating this data and making sense of it isn’t an easy one.
On top of this, manually inputting data into Excel documents leaves room for human error, with various studies even suggesting that almost 9 out of 10 spreadsheets contain errors.
Planning analytics software puts all of this sporadic data into one centralised place to give you a 360-degree view of your organisation. Through this, you’ll be able to see and understand your business at a granular level so that you can gain early insight into the health of your organisation and plan with confidence.
Reduce unnecessary expenses
We know that a key part of preparing for the future is watching what we spend now, and deciding where to cut funding can easily be left down to intuition rather than on the understanding of the key and ‘not so key’ drivers of revenue.
In Deloitte’s Analytics Advantage report, revenue generation or cost reduction was reported to be the most valued outcome of using analytics.
Through aligning your budgets and resources, you’ll be able to re-deploy budgets to meet critical objectives and lower costs. Taking this approach, we recently helped one of our customers deliver savings which equated to a return on investment of 250%.
Analytics acts as a strategic tool which can be used to give insight into areas such as investment opportunities, financial performance and key financial drivers; so you have peace of mind that your resources are always being deployed to the right place at the right time.
Oletta Stewart is a Content Writer for MHR Analytics.
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