In the last post, I shared some research showing there is still a gap to close with analytics. In most organizations it is still the domain of experts rather than what the Tapscott Group – founded by Don Tapscott who is one of the world’s leading authorities on innovation, media, and the economic and social impact of technology – call a social enterprise, a vibrant ecosystem where all team members actively participate in collecting and acting upon information.
Personally, I find their choice of the word social confusing as it tends to suggest some deep intrinsic connection with social media which is not the case. While some employees clearly need tools to gain insight from the endless chatter of social media as it’s an important source of qualitative research, most employees still struggle to come to grips with internal data. A word such as collaborative would surely convey the concept better.
Niggles aside, they say that the Net Generation born between 1977 and 1997 expect to be heard and taken seriously, as such an efficient way to listen, collect, and respond to customers is critical to an organization’s success and that the true democratization of information is key to bringing together the many minds within a company and to breaking down interdepartmental silos.
Their research suggests growing evidence that firms transforming themselves into social enterprises perform better with lower transaction costs and a higher metabolism – I take that to mean something about enthusiasm for action in that they say that when decisions are collaborative (aka social), they tend to be better and more likely to be implemented.
To become an effective organization they recommend companies deploy social analytics across all departments including marketing, customer service, manufacturing, research and development, human resources, asset management, procurement, finance, logistics, sales, and operations and set out 6 steps to achieving a truly social enterprise:
- Ensure that analytics is core to the organization’s mission and is actively used to drive decision-making.
- Conduct an organizational audit to determine what sources of structured and unstructured data are already available including customer records, financial data, information from the supply chain, and government statistics. Identify what additional information can be gathered from social media conversations, and develop a plan to capture it.
- Choose optimal technology. Big data requires robust technology. Ensure that the enterprise solution you choose is robust enough to manage huge amounts of data from multiple sources.
- Ensure data cleanliness and leverage information exhaust. An analytics program will only be as good as the input data.
- Build an effective team to take advantage of analytics. There will likely be a shortage of people with the applied mathematics skills required to develop and conduct analytics programs. Ensure that your organization is actively recruiting and retaining talent in this area.
- Build scenarios, test and retest. The most important benefit of an effective analytics program is predictive analysis. Running simulations should be standard practice for all areas of the organization.
While none of their to do’s are new and were the mantra of BI specialists a decade ago, (i.e., data custodians, BI competency centers, etc.), the message I take from their paper is that if analytics is going to be transformative within an enterprise, it is going to take hard work to make it happen.
Innovative organizations need to invest not only in the appropriate technology but also in human capital, like I mentioned a couple of posts ago about investing in the Information as well as the T\technology.
My take on this is that perhaps the Net Generation entering the workforce will have more impact on the spread of analytics than the BI folk have managed to achieve in the past and that perhaps the ultimate responsibility for analytics needs to be moved higher up the organization and not necessarily led by an IT specialist.
Click here to read the paper (registration required).