Why You Need to Future-Proof Your Data and Analytics

Why You Need to Future-Proof Your Data and Analytics

Are you future-proofing your company’s data and analytics capabilities? If not, you may soon be at a competitive disadvantage. Because data and analytics are playing an ever-more critical role in business and finance — a trend that is poised to accelerate rapidly over the next few years.

Corporate leaders in all industries will strive to collect, analyze, and leverage large amounts of business data, and this is quickly becoming the basis of competition to ensure relevancy in the future. Those who fail to do so may fall behind.

The Data Landscape

The idea of creating business value from data is not new, however, efficacy requires agile thinking. How will data and analytics be used by companies in the years ahead? Today, most organizations have complex and fragmented architecture landscapes that make it difficult for departments to share and disseminate data; and many of them are still not leveraging modern technology for planning and forecasting to stay ahead of operational performance issues and market trends. Over the next few years, data analytics will be used to extract value using explanatory and predictive models to drive fact-based business management decisions and actions. It will be viewed as a corporate asset and the key to enabling companies to adapt strategies and financial plans to new challenges and opportunities.

It is this demand that has fueled the growth of BI platforms, data analytics, and data modeling software as essential tools for processing and analyzing data in a timely manner, and presenting the information in a way that can affect positive change and influence business decisions. Analytics capabilities will increasingly be embedded in all sorts of business applications to optimize organizational performance by turning information into intelligence and willpower workflow and decision-making in a range of operational areas. Market research firm IDC predicts that, by 2021, 90 percent of new intelligent systems will have an embedded decision architecture that automatically detects and evaluates conditions and makes decisions about how to respond and evaluates conditions and makes decisions about how to respond — leading to transformational outcomes1.

Data as an Asset

CFOs and CEOs will not only consume more data, but they’ll sell it to others as a new source of revenue. Already, 50 percent of large enterprises are generating data-as-a-service revenue from the sale of raw data, derived metrics, insights, and recommendations, according to IDC.

As data gains value as a corporate asset, data security will likewise become more critical, leading to greater reliance on cutting-edge data security services and software. Already cybersecurity is a major threat, and therefore concerns over the vulnerability of sensitive data will increase. Businesses will need to rely on advanced security services from outside experts to protect data – a challenge they can’t meet on their own as hackers get more sophisticated and the volume and cost of attacks rise, thanks to new threats such as IoT botnets and ransomware.

Companies that fail to protect their data will lose more than internal assets; they also risk losing the trust of their customers and partners, as well as their competitive edge. This is why savvy finance professionals are moving now to future-proof their data and analytics capabilities to win the long game.

Unifying Data with EPM

In the enterprise performance management space integrating data from multiple source systems is an integral part of creating business value. Combining both financial and operational data to become the best snapshot of the business in real time. To learn more about the integration of data in EPM download our white paper.

Download White Paper

1 & 2) IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Analytics and Information Management 2018 Predictions, doc #US42619417, October 2017.

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Part 2 – Self-Disrupt or Self-Destruct: Keys to Being a Market Disruptor

Part 2 – Self-Disrupt or Self-Destruct: Keys to Being a Market Disruptor

It pays to study how companies successfully disrupt markets because it’s better to set your own course and be the master of your own business destiny, lest you find yourself in the disruptor’s wake. Recent disruptions have transformed, even destroyed, markets once dominated by established leaders that failed to recognize the coming disruption, and examples abound.

If you haven’t read part 1 – Self-Disrupt or Self-Destruct

Of course, not all disruption replaces entire markets, or stems from technical innovation; a different process or simplified method may be disruptive as well. Case in point: the recent announcement that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase are forming a non-profit healthcare company for their employees in the U.S. The news added more uncertainty to the health insurance industry already challenged by complexity, extensive regulation and harsh economic realities.

The announcement sent the stocks of established healthcare providers plummeting, triggering a wave of speculation about the overall impact of the new venture. Perhaps, we’ll have a better understanding of our own healthcare costs or easier access to medical records; or perhaps, it will usher in a new era of new and agile thinking about healthcare that was, until now, simply “just great ideas.”

When we speak of disruptive innovation, another example that is often mentioned is Uber, which was able to transform the taxicab industry. Taxi cabs today are in dire competition with Uber, Lyft, and other smartphone app-enabled rideshare services. For the consumer, anyone with a smartphone can use the Uber app to call for a ride – faster and easier than the old way of “calling a cab,” whereas contracted drivers have the “gig economy” flexibility to set their own hours and work only when they want and in the geographic areas they desire. Uber fees are cheaper than traditional taxi fares and pick up/wait times are generally far less than the typical taxi cab.

This goes to show that one clever innovation or a simplified business model can ultimately transform an age-old industry very quickly.

Organizations may differ in their disruptive approach, but they do share some common traits that enable them to out-innovate their competitors.

  • Managers track trends in other industries. Good ideas can come from anywhere, so savvy business leaders keep up with developments in other industries.
  • Executives study the practices of well-known disruptors. They examine the management, business development, marketing and R&D practices of companies such as Apple and Amazon and apply those practices to their own companies.
  • Innovation is a line item in the annual budget. Like R&D, high-level strategic thinking has to be a regular activity, with adequate resources to fuel innovation.
  • Ideas are road tested in a contained “sandbox” or laboratory environment.  Just as software needs testing, so do new business models.  Early testing in a regional market or a virtual market, helps prove or disprove the concept prior to broader rollout to reduce risk.
  • They consider various disruptive strategies, not just technical innovation. For instance, People’s Express Airlines created a new market for budget fliers who might normally take buses rather than fly. The company operated in the 1980s in the East and sold its tickets onboard the aircraft, paid in cash, with additional fees for sodas and small snacks.
  • Disruptive ideas are vetted by a team. Potential ideas are brainstormed and vetted by multiple employees from different parts of the company, including strategic planning, executive management, and IT.
  • Performance is tracked with metrics. Successful companies measure performance and have key performance indicators (KPIs) for different areas of their operations. KPIs enable disruptors to identify potential market problems and opportunities earlier than competitors.

 

So, when is the best time to exercise your innovation? The short answer is: now. Many times, disruptive ideas come about as the “mother of necessity” in a down economy to address the need for a better, cheaper, and more efficient means of providing goods and services. And sometimes they come as a result of a merger, acquisition, or joint partnership, such as in the case of the new Amazon healthcare venture. But they can also arise in a strong economy. Recent wide sweeping tax reform is giving U.S. businesses access to a lot more capital, and many companies are quickly putting these new resources to work. For example, Exxon just announced it will be embarking on a $50 billion investment plan in its U.S. operations. Only time will tell if this stimulus will unleash a tsunami of innovation, but savvy businesses will work to get on the right side of disruption so they can ride this wave.

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