One of the most surprising facets of building analytics platforms is the business transformation that occurs within an organization.
If you are like most managers, you feel like you are getting the data that you need to effectively manage your organization. Ask any executive and they will say, “It may not be efficient, but it works.” And that is what we all tell ourselves as we try and guide our organizations into an uncertain future with limited resources, aggressive competition, and uncertain market conditions. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a sort of built in mantra that we have all become too dependent on and most companies have developed a ‘it’s good enough’ thinking process. But what if you are missing out because your abilities are good enough? What if the business transformation never occurs because you never actually worked on the problem?
Consider this: What if it actually is broken?
We are all pre-programmed to enjoy receipt of what we want. As a manager, you tell your team what you want to see and ultimately you get to see the fruits of your company’s labor. But have you ever really considered what goes in to delivering that number that you requested? In many cases, getting an answer to management’s requests becomes the only goal and the costs are incredibly high.
A Great Example
In an eye-opening study performed by Harvard Business Review, they looked at the time-cost of a weekly meeting in a large enterprise by simply looking at the calendars of the organization. In short, they looked at the calendars of not only the people who were to be in the meeting, but also those that reported to the executive team that would be in attendance, and even those that report to the person that reported to the data requestor and what they found was unbelievable. They saw that there were up to four degrees of separation between the meeting attendee that needed the data/KPIs and the people below the executive that were required to do the work to uncover the metrics requested. The punch line: The seemingly innocuous weekly management meeting cost over 300,000 man-hours per year in labor-costs!
Now obviously not every company operates at that scale but what does translate directly across to smaller organizations is that inefficient methods produce inefficient results. You may not have thousands of employees with 300,000 wasted man-hours per year but you do have exactly the same dynamic on *your* scale. Prior to the study we would assume that the meeting would be costed-out thinking about the time it took the management team to prepare for the meeting. It would look something like this:
And if that was the case that would be a lean running company with a great grasp on their organization. But obviously, that was not in the same universe as the actual cost associated with a simple weekly meeting. In fact, that same ‘simple weekly meeting’, from an outsider’s perspective, only consumed 2500 hours of man-time per year. In short, from the outside, accounting for the cost of a weekly strategy meeting would have been off by more than 99%, and THAT is the cost of inefficiency.
So, what does it all mean?
If you do not have a strategy in place that eliminates the massive waste of manual intervention in reporting and analytics, that Harvard Business Review company mentioned is you. You undoubtedly have a massive investment that you just do not account for when you are planning and the only answer to the requirements of manual intervention is to add more people. It is a death spiral that ensures you can never get ‘over the hurdle’. Real transformation of an organization requires a strategy that, hopefully, eliminates complexity, otherwise you are just moving the goal-line which never seems to pay dividends.
So fix it. Business transformation is easy if you make the right moves.
The irony with analytics companies is that everyone says they can fix what ails you. The reality is that the bigger analytics companies are usually going to deliver a canned solution that will *almost* get you where you want to be, but in the end the metric that you really want is just beyond your grasp… That is where we stand apart. We find out exactly what you want to see and we deliver it every single time.