The nature of today’s global economy usually means far flung operations, decentralized business units, and the integration of various cultures and languages. If Kermit the Frog lamented that ‘it’s not easy being green’, today’s corporations think ‘it’s not easy being global’. There is an opportunity, however, to get everyone on the same page with unbreakable unity—and that path is through analytics.
So what does unbreakable unity look like? If you’ve ever been to a symphony or played organized sports, you understand the power of everyone working together and marching to the same drumbeat. Indeed, sometimes a well run organization that’s pushing the flywheel faster is almost magical—take for instance Apple (when Jobs is running the show) or even Amazon.com’s success over the past five years. It almost feels like your organization can do no wrong.
But these feats are a rarity, and while there are various reasons for this, one of the most common is different groups within an organization are siloed—not only physically but also in terms of how they collect, organize, manage and use data. When disparate teams are each using their own data sets to manage the business, it’s usually a recipe for disaster unless of course, a highly decentralized organization is preferred.
Analytics can make the difference between everyone marching to the same drummer, or something more chaotic (which incidentally can sometimes be beautiful). Clean, fresh data that is centralized in a common data warehouse is beneficial because both front and back office functions are using the same data. Fresh, and accurate data (and it’s derivative, information) is the lifeblood of an organization. With data kept in a centralized data warehouse, there’s no longer talk of “my data is more current/clean/better than yours”. When everyone is using the same data for decision making, it can help increase organizational unity, improve productivity, and ultimately help managers of all stripes make better decisions.
Sadly, when it comes to data management the ratio of companies practicing chaos vs. simplicity is probably 9:1. And that’s because information is power; managers are loathe to give up their own “personal competitive advantage” in favor of assisting another group.
And so the dance continues. The balance, harmony and simplicity of having a common system of record are thrown away in favor of “this is the way we’ve always done it.” It doesn’t need to be this way. Analytics is a key enabler on the path to unbreakable unity. If only more companies would see it this way.
- What are some mechanisms companies can employ to create greater collaboration and trust in sharing data?
- Some argue the above approach creates more complexity rather than reducing it, especially when change management is considered (most people hate change). Do you agree?