Deliver Analytics with Purpose, Not Mounds of Data

Submitted on: Thu, 06.22.2017 01:42am - admin |
Deliver Analytics with Purpose, Not Mounds of Data

Note: The following blog post was written by guest blogger Andy Weith.

I am married to an amazing ER nurse. In her world, a patient’s symptoms indicate which tests to run for a diagnosis. The nurses and doctors don’t approach the patient like this is the first time they’ve seen a fever and rash from a bug bite, they simply follow a protocol. The book has already been written. The algorithm has been designed. Decades of research into data and billions of dollars have been invested to say, “if this, then that”.
Why can we not apply the same logic to our distribution customers and their “symptoms?” They buy too much of this and not enough of that. They place too many orders. They have too many returns. They have us quote 1000 jobs to every 1 that is accepted. 
Don’t have your folks starting at square one looking at a customer like it’s the first time we’ve seen these symptoms. Instead design your reports to lead us to the diagnosis. Of course, the test doesn’t always reveal we are on the right path but at least we know what questions to ask. Eventually we have a prescription for how to make this better: more education for the customer, some price exceptions on certain product lines, a discount for paying early, etc. Whatever is going to have this marginal or service drain customer on his or her way to being a core customer.
You don't want your staff to have to spend time deciphering what they are looking at and why. Organizing information into simple, focused, and purposeful reports instead of lists of data to sift through, will help users understand when reviewing the "Customers Who Don't Buy Parts...Report" that they should be calling the customer to ask why they buy our equipment but are clearly going elsewhere for installation and replacement parts!
For either approach, be it a focused tactical report (call this customer about their parts business, or lack thereof), or a scorecard for diagnosis (why is this customer not well?), the key is to deliver analytics with purpose, not reports with mounds of incomprehensible lines of data.
Andy Weith is the Founder of ASW GLOBAL CONSULTING, focusing on helping businesses better utilize the technology they have and improve the processes they employ.