The Collaborative Path Crosses Organizational Boundaries

This is part 7 of 13 from “Analytics: The Widening Divide,” a report on the findings of the 2011 New Intelligent Enterprise Global Executive Study and Research Project.

By contrast, organizations taking the Collaborative path use analytics more broadly and effectively. Unlike Specialized organizations, which typically have pockets of excellence in one area or another, Collaborative organizations achieve consistent levels of effectiveness across functions. Like a rising tide that lifts all boats, analytics in Collaborative organizations spreads beyond finance and operations to bring capabilities to the same levels across unit and function — from marketing and sales to human resources to strategy and product development.

By connecting information and programs across silos, organizations can create an agenda that makes analytics core to operations and business strategy. In doing so, the Collaborative path creates an appetite for new ways of understanding value and competitive advantage that permeates the entire organization (see case study, Pfizer: Next Generation Sales Insights Through Analytics).

On the Collaborative path, organizations draw on information from many functions and departments. They develop ways to improve the customer’s experience and overall relationship with the organization. Consequently, they may be better positioned to create seamless one-on-one interactions with customers across channels and over time. Not surprisingly, they are twice as likely as organizations taking the Specialized path to provide customer-facing employees with access to data and insights.

The Collaborative Path and the Three Competencies

1. Information management is an enterprise endeavor. On the Collaborative path, organizations gain valuable ground by applying themselves to the integration of disparate data into an enterprise analytics platform.

This cross-unit endeavor is enabled by a willingness to share and accept data and insights from other parts of the organization. The enterprise moves toward consistent data definitions, data management standards and shared responsibility for analytics. Governance and information quality become leading concerns, and the organization works its way through “turf wars” that almost certainly will accompany the creation of an information management foundation for the entire enterprise.

2. Analytics skills and tools are not fully developed. Despite comparative weakness in analytics skills and tools, organizations on the Collaborative path are adept at using visualization techniques. Data visualization and departmental dashboards provide snapshot views of performance. Scenarios are developed to “paint a picture” showing how changes in strategies and processes can impact the business. These user-friendly approaches help individuals who are less accustomed to working with large quantities of data interact with information and make analytically based decisions.

3. A data-oriented culture has emerged. Organizations on the Collaborative path integrate data from silos and then disseminate the insights across the enterprise. They are almost three times more likely to use analytics to guide future strategies than Specialized organizations, and twice as likely to rely on analytics for day-to-day operations. Collaborative organizations have cultures where individuals are prepared to challenge current ideas and practices on the basis of new information. To support this culture, they are twice as likely to provide insights to anyone in the organization who needs them. As a result, they’ve democratized the access to data and insights, empowering employees and executives alike. These organizations enjoy executive-level endorsement for the broad use of analytics to manage day-to-day operations and shape future strategies.