I have gone through a few product implementations using analytics and have come to realize that there is a simple success mantra: the human brain. Humans have an amazing inherent capability to comprehend patterns and apply what we learn.
It all starts with how our senses respond and make the IoT within us (which has been designed so meticulously and flawlessly) the most powerful among all IoT applications.
So what do we need to be able to mimic the same “sense and respond” mechanism when it comes to our business growth and analytics? How can we predict the success rate before we embark on an analytics journey to grow our business? How much failure should we tolerate before calling our analytics engagements a total disaster?
See also: Applied Analytics Are Key for Progress
There are three keys to remember as we start on this path so that there are no surprises along the way:
1. People: The right talent can bring silos within an organization together.
Use your internal business experts or practitioners to define their everyday issues and try to find the origin and impact. What is keeping you up at night? Without a goal, analytics is the magic that will remain within the genie's oil lamp. Once you have a goal, prepare to make some changes based on the results of the analytics. If the analytics are not actionable at the end, your goals are inaccurate. If you are a person who says, “I will let analytics tell me what to do. Where do I start?,” I would advise you to start with hiring the right talent who can help you define those goals and underline the problems or establish strategies for product and company growth. Finding answers through analytics may seem less daunting. Internal and external collaboration and goals are the first milestones.
2. Process: If you are not intending to make business process changes based on feedback from analytics, you are not ready for analytics — whether it's predictive, AI, IoT, machine learning or blockchain.
Once you identify your goals, you have established a destination. Now you need the right driver, vehicle, sufficient gas and the right path to get you there. But if you never intended to make that journey, then the effort behind it is fruitless to begin with. Analytics is just the fuel, so you need a driver who will make the journey. Without actionable outcomes, your analytics will sound like glorified expensive reporting. Management must be prepared for strategic changes based on what analytics reveals and must expect this to be a continuing effort. Analytics should run parallel to — and a little ahead of — your business so that you have time to put it into action and see if the results pivot or move ahead.
3. Technology: Questions such as “What can your system do?,” “Can you do social media?” and “When can I get predictions?” will confuse you on your analytics journey.
Predictions should be the end product if you can claim success in automating data gathering, modeling, enrichment, pattern detection, deep learning and artificial intelligence.
As a business owner, own the process. Own its deficiencies and its growth path so you can then forecast where you would like to be. Now rephrase the question, “Can ‘X’ technology help me solve my problem?” Try to focus on your process and on how the technology can help solve your problem. Solutions, technology and software should be the flexible part — the variant should be replaceable/enhanceable when your goals change.
See also: Why Data Analytics Are Like Interest
Build or buy? If you are not a software or technology company, invest in business experts, people, process changes and customer engagement. Invest less on building something from scratch.
Software companies can monetize by reusing their solutions and evolving their products, but core businesses must maintain, support and enhance everything they build. Technologies have limitations, which is why they evolve so frequently. To take advantage, buy technologies and find solutions that will give you immediate ROI. But if you like to build from scratch, be prepared to fail, detect missing ingredient, replace and move on!