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Manage data, don’t let it kill you: Carlo Donati

17-January-2013
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Manage data, don’t let it kill you: Carlo Donati

Analytics can help improve efficiency and increase RoI. In today’s world where we are running at an extremely great speed, innovation is a key success factor. Technology, quality, and speed dictate analytics. If Big Data allows for innovations, then quality is also very important. It boils down to intelligent data analysed by intelligent people who use it to take intelligent decisions leading to intelligent results.

The Egyptians are a great example of application of Big Data to build their pyramids. Battles were won with the help of quality data. Quality data helps in discovery and plays key role in effective management. It leads to transparency and success. If the importance of data is not accepted, it leads to confusion; confusion = failure. For instance, Indira Gandhi, during the Emergency, did not look at data and this led to her being asked to step down. So, governments and people need to adjust and train themselves to look at data.

In the 90s, Nestle realised the importance of analytics, spending $ 6 billion and assigning 2,000 people to create data and handle analytics. The company had 500 factories across 140 countries with over 2.5 lakh employees. The creation of this team enabled to improve quality of available data, speed, and operational efficiency. In the 60s, Bennett Coleman went through analysis of data. To improve production, all the outlets were linked and data sent back which helped define consumer trends and improve working capital efficiency.

Carlo Donati, Former CEO, Nestle Waters and member of the Global Executive Board, Nestle South Asia gave the instance of when he was running Waters for Nestle. In the US, the company had huge operations with a $ 4 billion turnover with a seasonality factor. Good analysis of big data was crucial in order to programme and plan to respond effectively to peak season demand. “It is necessary to professionalise the management of data. Avoid data killing you. You have to manage data,” he said.

Marcia Tal, Founder, Tal Solutions LLC and Former EVP – Citigroup Global took the Big Data conversation forward with her talk on ‘Using data to create opportunities for growth’. She began by reiterating that application of analytics is how value is really created. It is empowering to find value inside your own organisation to identify and act upon for incremental growth in revenues. Albert Einstein famously remarked, “Vision without execution is merely hallucination.” It is our job as leaders in a world where solutions are complex and not easy to find to look at data.

Reinventing the game
The movie ‘Moneyball’ is a great example of sophisticated use of data to change the status quo. It showed the use of statistics to change a game where it is not traditionally used. It is important, in this context, to note that:
Information is exploding and explosive
Tools and technology are enabling

The information is out there but the capability is not present. So it is paramount to focus on talent and value creation from what was previously dismissed.

Big Data gap: Are we learning fast enough?
Less than one per cent of the world’s data is analysed
Less than 20 per cent of the data is protected although the amount of data requiring protection is growing faster than the digital universe
By 2020, emerging markets will supplant the developed world as the main producer of the world’s data.

In this context, it is important to note that the more data we have, the more creative the ‘stories’ should be. But there information use should be moral, ethical along with data protection which is key. According to Thornton May, Futurist, Executive Director and Dean of the IT Leadership Academy, there are three dimensions to Big Data – value, velocity, and variety. Data sources have greatly increased with 85 per cent falling in the category of unstructured data. We could only play in the structured data space due to lack of access and technological development. But the unstructured data space with Big Data is where you can play and where all the excitement lies.

Analytic framework
Understand and analyse your business – do you understand your TG? What are the growth drivers? How can you make money? How does it relate back to the target market and the value proposition?

Identify and decide strategy and tactics – what are your core competencies? The probability of success is greater if we focus on what you’re good at, decide high impact initiatives. Can you prototype and simulate impact and decide where to take risks and where to make changes?

Design and develop roadmap – what are the offers that you put out into the market and to your target consumer? How quickly can you put products out in the market? How fast can you make changes in the organisation to produce and market these products?

Enable and enact flawless execution – through infrastructure, customer experience, and real-time problem execution

Measure and learn
Real-time analytics is very important because if you know the time between knowing that you’re losing money and acting on it, then you will be able to lessen it quickly. You have no right to exist if you don’t fully utilise data. Analytics is moving from niche to fundamental. Analysing spend pattern recognition allows access to broad profit-making opportunities within the organisation. Complex Event Processing (CPE) assumes great importance in this scenario. It is the ability to go up the proactive ladder to predict actions and take decisions way before an event takes place. This will enable increase in customer experience and satisfaction through constant real-time monitoring, predicting, and response.

Donati and Tal shared their views at the inaugural session of the Pitch Analytics in Action conference held in Bengaluru yesterday.

Pitch Analytics in Action was powered by The Hindu Business Line. Dekhooh was Outdoor Partner for the conference, CIOL was the Online Partner, Institute for Competitiveness was the Think Tank Partner, Marketelligent was the Knowledge Partner, and 24 Frames Digital was the Webcast Partner.

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