Benefits of a Top Down Data Analytics Approach

Submitted on: Thu, 04.20.2017 06:36pm - Annie Eissler |
Benefits of a Top Down Data Analytics Approach

As software continues to become more and more complex, we find that about 80% of its users tend to utilize about 20% of the software’s functionality. And this is fine, as long as it’s the right 20 percent. To make sure that happens with their analytics software, companies need to take a top-down approach centered on aligning analytics with the company’s overall strategic planning. This, in turn, ensures that your company gets 100% of the value out of the solution without worrying about what percentage of its functionality is actually being put to use.
The problem is that too many companies are experimenting with small-scale analytics implementations that are narrowly focused on one aspect of their businesses. Going against everything that any 2.0 management guru advises, these companies are rebuilding the very “silos” that we know don’t work in today’s highly collaborative, interconnected business environment.
Now, in other instances, companies will go live with their software, record a few “wins” or positive results, and then stop iterating on how it can be more broadly applied across their entire enterprise. So they set the solution up, roll it out to a group of users, and then stop right there. What winds up happening is that a 100-person company, for instance, will have just a handful of users on the data analytics platform.
Now, if it’s the right six people using the system, then this isn’t a problem. But that rarely is the case. To overcome this challenge, we often tell our own customers that the best analytics implementation happens from the top down, and in a way the entire company understands.
In other words, if the only reason you’re implementing analytics is because your sales team needs customer scorecards, then use that capability as a starting point—and not as an end point for your analytics project. Use the scorecards as a driver for implementing the system and getting your data loaded and validated, but then make sure your firm’s executives get behind the effort.
For example, your CEO should be the one who defines—based on solid data—a set of goals rooted in the key performance indicators (KPIs) that the sales reps can use when working with customers. Then, roll those dashboards and KPIs out to your management team, branch managers, sales managers, sales reps, marketing staff, and other stakeholders. Once those analytics, KPIs, and other metrics are embedded in your company’s fabric, rolling it out to new corners of the business gets easier and easier. Using a top down approach, businesses can continue to define and work with those KPIs across the whole company, and then use their analytic solutions to build alignments around strategic, company-wide initiatives. And that's where companies really start to see double-digit returns on investment.
To firms that want to create a good business case for an analytics investment, the reality of today’s disruptive business world is that there’s no guarantee that what’s always worked for your company will continue to pay off in the future. So if you aren’t aware of the higher-level trends within the industries you serve, and if you’re not paying attention to what your competitors are doing, you may just get squeezed right out of the marketplace.
By taking a top-down approach to your analytics implementation, you can ensure solid alignment across your organization and effectively support both its short- and long-term planning strategies. Without this vital piece of the puzzle in place, analytics could become just another line-item that doesn’t live up to expectations and/or that doesn’t produce the intended return on investment.

Want to learn more about the keys to successful distributor analytics implementation? Watch this webcast.