An insights-driven organization uses analytics extensively and systematically to outthink and outexecute the competition. So how does one identify or create this insights-driven enterprise?
It stands to reason that if analytics is to support competitive strategy, they must support an essential and distinctive capability. At Netflix, the primary focus for analytics is on predicting customer viewing preferences. At Caesars, it’s on customer loyalty and service. Marriott International’s primary analytical orientation is on revenue management.
Walmart emphasizes supply chain analytics, and professional sports teams generally focus on human resources or choosing the right players. But, this is not possible without an enterprise-level approach to and management of analytics. Enterprise-level management also means ensuring that the data and analyses are made available broadly throughout the organization, and proper care is taken to manage data and analyses efficiently and effectively. Such changes don’t happen by accident; senior executives must lead them with a passion for analytics and fact-based decision-making. Senior Management orientation drives the culture and mind share directed to analytics and the level and persistence of the investment in people, IT, data, and et al.
Not all attempts to create analytical competition will be successful, of course. But the scale and scope of results from such efforts should at least be large enough to affect organizational fortunes. Incremental, tactical uses of analytics will yield minor results; strategic, competitive uses will yield major ones.
In summary, there are four common key characteristics of organizations that compete based on analytics :
- Analytics support and build their strategic and distinctive capability
- They have an enterprise-wide approach and management of analytics
- They enjoy senior leadership’s commitment to the use of analytics
- They place a strategic bet on the analytics-based competition.
Among these four pillars, senior executive commitment is perhaps the most important because it can make others possible. It’s no accident that many organizations became analytical competitors when a new CEO arrives or when CEOs found them with a solid analytical orientation from the beginning.