Analytics Is a Team Sport

By: John Tardy

One of the things I enjoy about our work in analytics is the variety of business problems we solve. While the specifics of the problem vary, our overall objective is always to derive value from the data. Putting the client’s needs first means that we adjust our approach to best fit the situation rather than fixate on a specific tool or pre-selected solution. This variety makes the work exciting, but it also creates challenges in staffing the appropriate skills. Over the years, I have come to refer to our solution to this challenge with the phrase “Analytics is a team sport.”

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Should We Transform Our Business to the Cloud?

Should We Transform Our Business to the Cloud?

Using cloud solutions opens your workforce to using virtually any Internet-connected device to access and process data. That means everyone gets to use the computing tool with which they feel most comfortable whether it’s the office’s iPads or a Windows computer. Another benefit is your office can purchase exactly the number of licenses it requires, then add to it as it hires office staff.

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Metrics and Dashboards in Selling Company Initiatives to Executives

Metrics and Dashboards in Selling Company Initiatives to Executives

How do executives determine whether company initiatives are effective or not? Executives don’t have the time to regularly comb through lengthy reports. They need important information to be delivered to them in as concise of fashion as possible. This is the role that a dashboard plays. Through a well-designed dashboard, executives can get all of the business analytics data they need.

Building an Executive Dashboard

An executive dashboard must be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound. The statistics displayed should be relevant to the organization’s current goals, displaying both metrics that are over-performing and under-performing. These metrics should be displayed in a timely fashion and should allow executives to drill down to further information that is relevant to them.

At-a-glance, the executive dashboard must give a broad spectrum overview of company initiatives, including everything that needs to be improved upon or modified.

Choosing the Metrics of an Organization

Which metrics should an executive be shown? After all, a company is likely tracking hundreds of them — which are most important? Begin with your organization’s most important metrics, such as its net profits. From there, pare down to the metrics that are underlying that, such as sales and expenses. These underlying metrics are what influences your net profits.

At-a-glance, the executive dashboard must give a broad spectrum overview of company initiatives, including everything that needs to be improved upon or modified.

If an organization has current and specific initiatives, such as increasing returning customers or improving upon new sales, these metrics should additionally be tracked. This gives the executive actionable information regarding the company-wide initiatives that are currently on-going, so they can determine whether the company is moving in the correct direction or not.

Use Data Visualization and Analytics

Few people, even experienced company executives, can glean any information from charts upon charts of numbers. Data visualization makes it easier to analyze large volumes of seemingly complex data all at once. Through data visualization, patterns more easily emerge. Pie charts, for instance, can be compared quite quickly to each other to identify current trends.

The right data analytics dashboard will give you a variety of ways to display information. The more varied the information displayed on the executive dashboard, the easier it will be to compare different metrics and identify changes as they occur. There are many software suites out there built for visualizing complex sets of data.

A modern organization is only as good as its data. There is no way for a business to succeed today without tracking its metrics. Moreover, the metrics on a company dashboard give an executive the information they need to make powerful, well-informed decisions for their company. For more information about the role that information plays in business today, contact the experts at Starr & Associates.

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Auditing Business Processes Through Analytics

Auditing Business Processes Through Analytics

There’s a reason why businesses are trending towards big data. Data analytics can be used to isolate areas of a business that need to be improved, in addition to paring down to the areas of the business that are performing most successfully. Through an internal audit, a business can fine-tune and streamline its business processes, ultimately using performance metrics to improve its productivity and revenue.

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Identifying and Validating Cost Savings through Analytics

Identifying and Validating Cost Savings through Analytics

It’s often easier to reduce an organization’s costs than it is to increase its income, but the bottom line is the same — an increase in revenue. If you’re looking for ways to streamline your expenditures and improve your cost savings, it’s time to look at your analytic data.

Analyze Your Data for Savings Opportunities

Your expense sheet holds all of the information you need to identify potential opportunities. Identify your largest suppliers and vendors and begin there. Look for opportunities to:

  • Reduce prices through discounts. Long relationships with another vendor may put you in the position to negotiate.
  • Reduce prices through consolidation. If you’re currently working with multiple vendors, you may be able to save money by consolidating through a different business.
  • Reduce prices through alternatives. Some vendors may no longer be competitive in relation to others within their industry.

Use Your Reporting

Visualized, aggregated data gives you valuable insights that you might not be able to see on a spreadsheet. This is the premise behind big data visualization: large-scale patterns may only be visible once data is consolidated, analyzed, and visualized. Using the right software solutions, you can better understand where your organization is spending the bulk of its money. From there, you can look at ways to fine-tune your operations.

Look at Supplier Performance

A supplier may not just be costing you money in terms of raw materials. Assessing supplier performance is also necessary to determine the full impact of their costs. Are delays making it necessary for your organization to delay products? Have mistakes in the supplier chain required returns or additional administrative processing? Supplier performance impacts efficiency, which can impact the system as a whole.

Visualized, aggregated data gives you valuable insights that you might not be able to see on a spreadsheet. This is the premise behind big data visualization: large-scale patterns may only be visible once data is consolidated, analyzed, and visualized.

At the same time, contract compliance must also be enforced. If suppliers are required to deliver product under certain guidelines — and they are not doing so — then they are not performing up to their contract. Issues of compliance must be enforced if negotiations are to be useful.

Forecasting and Planning Your Cost Savings

In addition to making decisions based on current spending, you must also consider future spending. If certain areas of your business are about to grow and expand, then your organization needs to focus on developing out these sectors and reducing costs within them. If areas of your organization are starting to become obsolete, then their cost savings benefits are going to be minimal.

Creating Results from Data Analysis

Data analysis is not effective if it isn’t used to affect change. Once your cost savings data has been analyzed, it’s time to make simple, clear, and functional changes to the spending of the departments that it impacts.

If you want to reduce spending in your organization, comprehensive data analysis is the most effective way. Through better data analysis, you can drill down to your organization’s spending habits, discovering inefficiencies and identifying trends. Of course, this also requires the right software and the right business processes. You can find out more through the experts at Starr & Associates.

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Using Predictive Analytics for the Disruptors in Healthcare

For many decades, the healthcare industry as a whole was able to maintain status quo. In the last decade alone, however, it’s experienced a great deal of disruption. From self-service healthcare and patient self-advocacy to predictive analytics and big data, the industry is changing. From small clinics to large healthcare organizations, businesses within this industry must change with it.

What is Predictive Analytics?

In predictive analytics, historical datasets are compiled and analyzed for patterns. Once patterns are found, this analytic data is used to make predictions on future outcomes. Predictive analytics can be used for a wide variety of scenarios, ranging from determining whether a customer might leave the organization to identifying the products and services a customer may be most interested in.

Predictive analytics has existed for as long as data has existed, but it isn’t up until recently that the raw, computational power necessary for making accurate guesses was available. Organizations now collect more data than ever before and can use this data to make surprisingly accurate predictions.

What Will Disrupt Healthcare in 2018?

Patient-generated data can now be analyzed to diagnose a multitude of issues. As patients are continually becoming stronger advocates for their health, organizations are going to see an increase in self-service healthcare. Patients are going to be pursuing their own diagnosis and are going to be identifying their symptoms. Patients are also going to be studying their billing and their medical costs more intently.

In the past, it wasn’t always necessary for healthcare organizations to be proactive about transparency. Though patients have always had the right to their own healthcare data (and the agency to make their own decisions), it wasn’t always a priority that patients understand every step of the process. In the new medical landscape, patients are going to begin to demand to be equal partners in their health decisions.


The Challenges for Healthcare Clinics

To compete with these new, disruptive technologies, healthcare clinics are going to need to take steps towards creating a more patient-friendly system. Collecting data is only one small part of this; clinics will also need to be able to reliably analyze and protect this data, both regarding confidentiality and security.

As patients become more knowledgeable and forceful about their rights as a consumer, healthcare professionals are going to need to be more customer-centric and patient-focused. This may create a radical shift in many business processes and business operations, especially in terms of customer acquisition and retention.

Healthcare organizations are in for some significant and immediate change as the industry is in the process of being disrupted by new, advanced data technologies. At Starr & Associates, we can help. Contact us today to find out more about the disruption that could be headed for your business.

Big Bang Disruption: The Speed of Change in the Digital Era

Modern businesses need to adapt to the speed at which technology changes. The past decade has seen a multitude of entrenched industries fall by the wayside in the wake of digital disruption. Businesses need to be proactive about following technological trends if they want to avoid potential disaster.

What is Big Bang Disruption?

In our current society, technology doesn’t evolve slowly. True innovation appears on the scene and then suddenly explodes, completely supplanting whatever came before it. Big Bang Disruption is driven by new technologies; with advancements on all spectrums of technology, it’s easier for new technology to gain purchase.

Technology is consequently able to suddenly and thoroughly impact the economic market. With more affordable experimentation and information, companies are able to better innovate and to race towards technologies that are more likely to be lasting and helpful.

Keeping Up With the Speed of Change

Organizations need to invest in change management to remain agile and active in this new, technologically explosive era. Change management has to be developed as a company-wide, multi-phase process. At all levels, employees have to be committed to change.

Traditionally, employees and upper management alike are reluctant to commit to change because they fear that this change will have a negative impact on operations. By promoting constant change and providing a positive reward system, employees can get past this negative perception.

To improve change management, it’s important that organizations be transparent about their change management processes and that they be clear about the value proposition for employees. It must be clear that a business will fail if the business does not continually change. The goals of each change must be thoroughly outlined.


How Likely is Your Industry to be Impacted?

Different industries have different rates of disruption. Much like other areas of risk management, it’s critical that you understand your industry’s likelihood of disruption before you begin making changes. If your business is in a low impact area, you may not need to invest as much into your change management processes. If you’re in a high-risk area, it’s absolutely critical that you do so.

When it comes to disruption, there are four important aspects: viability, volatility, durability, and vulnerability. Diversified chemicals, tires and rubber, and alcoholic beverages are all considered to be durable industries. On the other hand, the consumer technology, banking, and investment banking industries are experiencing volatility, as regulations and changing markets have shifted their operations.

Ultimately, disruption and change management may not be a process that can originate from within. Instead, businesses may need third-party help to develop the processes that their organization needs to continue to thrive. Contact us today at Starr & Associates to learn more about how we can help your business manage its change.

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