The decision to commit to analytics can be daunting. Typically, organisations have data scattered in silos and legacy systems throughout their business. What passes for analysis is usually contained in spreadsheets and files on the computers of those responsible for it. Most companies by now have realised the power that comes from structuring and collating their data, and have some sort of data warehousing project underway. It can be tempting to try to tackle one task at a time, to leave analytics until the "data is ready".
There are two problems with waiting until a data warehouse is ready before exploring analytics. The first is that data warehousing projects are large and complicated. They frequently run over time or fail to meet the required level of scope or quality. This may not happen to your data warehousing project, but if it does then the intervening time has been wasted in terms of getting insight. The second problem is that becoming an analytics-focused company also takes time. It is a learning process - learning what insights can be found in your data, learning to trust the decisions that analytics inform, and learning to tailor analytical methods to your industry and unique market position.
We recommend getting started as soon as possible. There is much that can be done, even with imperfect data, and the learnings from these early efforts will prepare you for more advanced activities in later stages. We’ve found that an analytical approach starts to infiltrate an organisation, as each success provides confidence for the next.
One of the methods we’ve found useful to start this process and to establish a relationship between you and Empiric is with an analytics capability assessment. We spend a week or two on site with you and get to know your business. We talk to key personnel and try to build a mental model of how analytics is used in your organisation: what data is available, what quality is it, how is it accessed, what analytical software is available, who can currently use it, what sorts of analysis are done, how does data or information flow from one business unit to another, are there issues with the quality of results or forecasts, what ways could analytics add value to your processes...
These are some of the questions we would be asking, and after the assessment we would be in a much better position to advise you of how we can help. This week or so also acts as a low-commitment way for you to assess us and decide if we know what we’re talking about, and whether you would be interested in working with us further. Typically we would develop a roadmap for next steps we might take, and usually decide on a small trial project to test some of the ideas. Then each step should establish benefits and confidence for the next step, so it isn’t necessary to commit fully at the start. This is all summarised in a report, which you can either act on immediately, or keep in a drawer until the time is right.