8 Essentials|P27 www.sas.com/baexchange8 essentials of business analyticsFind out what business analytics can do for you –and how to get startedBy Jim Davis Leading banks use business analytics to predict and prevent credit fraud, saving millions. Retailers use business analytics to predict the best location for stores and how to stock them. Pharma- ceutical firms use it to get life-saving drugs to market more quickly. Even sports teams are getting in on the action, using business analytics to determine both game strategy and optimal ticket prices. But these advanced business applica- tions tell only part of the story. What’s going on inside these market-leading companies that sets them apart? They have committed to deploying their people, technologies and business processes in new ways. They have committed to a culture that is based on fact-based decisions – which helps them anticipate and solve complex business problems throughout the organization. By embracing an analytical approach, these companies identify their most profitable customers, accelerate product innovation, optimize supply chains and pricing, and identify the true drivers of financial performance.
P28|8 Essentials www.sas.com/baexchange By embracing an analytical approach, these companies identify their most profitable customers, accelerate product innovation, optimize supplyAnd you can too. Get started with When selecting technologies, consider chains and pricing, andbusiness analytics by taking these eight “risk-to-value”: Can the technology identify the true drivers ofessential actions: be applied to help reduce costs and financial performance. increase revenue? And getting the right1. Improve the flow and flexibility technology in place doesn’t have to of data. mean a complete overhaul.High-quality data must be integrated andaccessible across your organization. It 3. Develop the talent you need.should also be structured in a flexible Develop or recruit analytic thinkersway that allows your analysts to discov- who seek and explore the right dataer new insights and provide leaders the to make discoveries. To make analyticsinformation they need to adjust strate- work, analysts must also be able togies quickly. Strengthening and flexing communicate effectively with leadersthe data backbone of your enterprise and link analytics to key decisions andwill pay off when you need to change the bottom line.business processes quickly in response 4. Demand fact-based decisions.to market shifts, regulatory or stake- An analytical company makes a wideholder demands. range of decisions. Some are ad hoc;2. Get the right technology in place. some are automated; some are trans-Take an enterprise approach to data formative. The common thread? Evidencemanagement and analytics to effect backs them all. Managers encouragebetter decisions. Remove disconnected asking the right questions of the data tosilos of data, technology or expertise. get maximum insight. How results areYour technology portfolio should deployed is also important – throughinclude: operation systems such as customer relationship management applica-• Optimized data stores to support tions or real-time fraud applications core business processes and to interactive dashboards, data movies, discovery. in databases – wherever needed to ensure decision makers have the• Data integration and data quality information they need when they software. need it (and in the way they can best consume it).• Analytical software with the means to effectively deploy, explore and 5. Keep the process transparent. share results in a meaningful way. Transparency implies openness, communication and accountability; it• Integrated analytical applications is key to successful business analytics designed to solve defined issues projects. The value delivered from an quickly.
8 Essentials|P29 www.sas.com/baexchangeinvestment in business analytics must 8. Revise your strategies – often.be visible and measureable. Who the Your competitors will often duplicateanalysts are and what they’re seeking your analytical initiatives. Staying ahead Top five benefits ofto accomplish should be clearly com- requires continuous review of strategymunicated to the business, as should and development of new skills and business analyticstheir findings. capabilities. When Computerworld asked 215 IT and business professionals to name the key6. Develop an analytical center Get started now. benefits of business analytics software, of excellence. Find important questions that need they received a wide range of responses.Create a centralized team approach – answering and problems that need to The five most popular were:an analytical center of excellence (ACE) be solved. Answer these questions, 1. Improving the decision-making– which promotes the use of analytics solve these problems and create val- process.and associated best practices. Your ue for the organization. By creating 2. Speeding up the decision-makingimplementation of an ACE will depend small wins in any business, function or process.on your organization’s maturity and department, over time your companyrequirements, but the most effective will become an analytical competitor. 3. Better alignment of resources withimplementations address all elements strategies.of the organization’s analytic infra- Jim Davis is Senior Vice President and 4. Realizing cost efficiencies.structure: people, process, technology Chief Marketing Officer for SAS. 5. Responding to user needs forand culture to support the business’ availability of data on a timely basis.strategy and operations.7. Transform the culture. ONLINEA strong analytical culture has executive www.sas.com/ba-benefitssponsorship and encourages creativity.Experimentation should be seen as partof learning, and employees should be ONLINEgiven permission to fail as they learn Defining business analytics white paper:from trying new things. www.sas.com/ba-definingba