Analytics हर हाथ में, जवाब सब के पास में!
If you are living in India, and since you are reading this and it is very likely you are, the possibility you said: so what? You have worked in multinationals operating in India, Indian multinationals, Nationalised corporations or corporations which are the property of the nation and never, never have you found Analytics हर हाथ में.
Yes, and that is the reason we write about it.
Most organisations have implemented analytics or business intelligence solutions when they were replacing a reporting solution. When you want to put the analytics in the hand of each user and allow them to use data for taking decisions the challenge is challenging!
The first question is who is making what decisions. The question closely follows is, does this decision maker have the clearance to see all the data to support taking this decision.
As we move decision making to the front desk, these two questions are of paramount importance. These are exactly the type of issues which limit the democratisation of analytics.
I would not like to dilute your thoughts by giving an example, but invite you to visualise a warehouse manager trying to make a proposal for more space without knowing the cost of goods, logistics or sales points. I cannot resist giving another example, making a pricing proposal to a senior manager for approval without being able to see how it will impact the total team profitability.
No, I am not saying that make everything transparent, but if we want to reduce the lag and loss due to protracted and unagile decision making, we all have to find a way to get our analytics right.
While analytics is used for many things from descriptive, monitoring, predictive, diagnostic to prescriptive analytics, for putting Analytics in हर हाथ, the usual objective is monitoring and effective decision making.
Monitoring is simple, necessary and effective.
Make an investment in monitoring your fitness. Ensure that you have the device which collects proper data, calculates correctly, and displays, current, past and expected performance to reach your goal in kcal used, or steps walked or hours of activity. You, I am sure are very fit, but there is an entire industry which has evolved based on this simple analytics, and it is highly effective. Sales numbers over three years in this fitness band industry are a sure indicator of product giving results, which means people are getting fit. Gartner has predicted that by 2020 40% of employees in an organisation can cut their healthcare cost by wearing a fitness tracker.
Everyone, and let us not confuse this term “everyone” with “someone”, needs analytics in their hands for accessing, monitoring, planning, so that they can act! This is 2001 stuff! If you are not here already, please speak to your friendly neighbourhood System Integrator or send me an email so that I can get some business out of penning this article.
The second challenge needs innovation, democratising decision making while securing core data. I will use an example and let you extrapolate and extranovate (Extrapolation by innovation = extranovate, in this business it always easy to invent words. Webster?) I used to work for a very large Indian company which is a leader in its market segment. As the head of sales, I received many pricing proposals which I evaluated, looked at the cost, looked at the impact on business, made a proposal if it was out of my authorised limit and eventually took a decision. This kept a lot of people busy and some mediocre people important in the organisation. The management then invented a system; I will call the system, Manage by Exception and Ratios.
Manage by exception is a common practice. Anything which does not follow the norm needs to be highlighted to the next level of authority. Simple. Review exceptions which have not been addressed and take corrective action.
Management by ratios is inventing ratios which can be used for taking a decision without exposing the complete raw data. For decision making and setting profitability target, a ratio called DCNR was used, Direct Cost to Net Realisation. There was a target for this ratio which could be shared transparently down the sales hierarchy. So without the need of knowing the detailed costing, we could quickly look at the current DCNR, estimate the impact of the decision and choose. There are many standard KPI which can help, but a bit of thinking will give you ratios which will put decision-making in the hands of the front desk.
Finally, let me touch the question which is shouting at the back of your mind. There are cost-effective business intelligence solutions from India being used by top banks and corporations. So if there is a lingering question in the background, what about the cost? Trust me; this has been resolved for some time now.
I truly believe that there is a great impact on profitability and effectiveness with Analytics. Analytics हर हाथ में, जवाब सब के पास में!
And Yes, anyone can respond to your queries anytime, sales teams can conduct sales meeting in CCD and warehouse manager and CEO can see the same data to resolve a query!