Your business captures a ton of data every day. Your systems store it away faithfully, in hopes that, one day, you’ll have the capability to filter it, analyze it and crunch it to uncover some amazing insights that will transform your operations and improve your bottom line.
The problem is determining where to start.
Starting an analytics program in your company can be a tough (and expensive) process. One thing’s for sure: you need buy-in and financial backing to get your program off the ground. The best way to do that is to pick a small project – but one that shows immediate business value.
Back to Project Management 101
You probably have so much data from so many systems and devices that analyzing it all seems overwhelming. And truth be told, it is. So don’t try to do it all at once.
Trying to introduce analytics into your business is like adding any other new technology; you have to take it one step at a time. Instead of trying to conquer the whole planet in a day, pick just one hill to climb and plant your flag there.
As with any new program, you’ll first decide on a proof-of-concept or a pilot. After all, you’ll need to test a number of software applications that can crunch the kind of data you’ve got. You’ll want your mini-project to be both highly visible and capable of delivering measurable business value. Yet, it shouldn’t be so intertwined with other projects as to cause delays when you encounter unexpected bumps. It is a pilot, after all, and there will be unknowns.
An ideal candidate for introducing analytics is regulatory oversight. Almost every business has rules and regulations to follow, monitor and report on. These rules may be internal, governmental or industry-imposed. Automated compliance monitoring can therefore benefit companies in almost any industry.
Let’s say you head up a securities brokerage house. Obviously you have to comply with regulations imposed by the SEC, the banking industry and other government agencies.
You can institute continuing education, testing and licensing requirements on your brokers. You can even spot-check their trading reports. But if brokers (or customers) really want to do something sight-unseen, they’ll get clever. If someone outside your company catches them before you do, your company can suffer dire consequences.
When that happens, you have to prove that your firm isn’t directly responsible for such actions. Furthermore, you need to show that your employees have followed all the appropriate tasks and steps to prevent and mitigate the fallout.
Making the business case for analytics
This is a perfect case where analytics can provide measurable business value.
Big data analytics can help you identify irregularities in your agents’ or customers’ trading patterns. By using external data, you might also uncover that a customer is now in a management position at a different company – and is suddenly trading that company’s stock in bulk.
In the first case, you’ve analyzed trading data for all employees and self-directed customer accounts. You may have uncovered the use of an established unsavory trading pattern. Or maybe it’s a new pattern your software deems unusual. Either way, you can suspend trading on the questionable account, saving your firm stiff SEC penalties.
In the second case, you’ve pulled in data from external sources and bumped them up against your stock transactions. And you just might have caught – and prevented – some serious inside trading. Good thing you had analytics in this case, because comparing the employee rosters of every publically traded company against trading data isn’t something we humans can do in real-time.
In either case, analytics of your employee’s desktop activities can validate that you’ve taken every action required, in the right order and in a timely manner, should you ever be questioned.
Start out with measurable business value
Of course, instead of a brokerage house, you might manage a manufacturing floor or a chain of healthcare clinics. Analytics still makes sense. Every industry has its compliance issues to deal with.
That’s why regulatory oversight is an ideal first-choice candidate for introducing analytics in your company.
Getting buy-in to start your program is much easier when the pilot shows an immediate measurable value to your business. Once you uncover insights leading to reduced risks, lower penalties and fewer audits, you’re bound to get a green light for the rest of the program.
For help conceptualizing or setting up an analytics pilot, request a consultation with Systemware’s experts.