Sir Francis Bacon, an 18th-century founder of the modern scientific method, famously argued that “Knowledge is power.”  With all due respect to this great scientist, in the 21st century, “knowledge is profit” for those firms that deploy big data analytics solutions to reduce risks, make smart decisions, and create differentiated, more personal customer experiences. The answers are in the data — but only if companies look for them.  Big data is the fuel and analytics is the engine that companies need to discover, deploy, and profit from the knowledge they gain with the information. 

In the past, firms spent many years and many dollars building enterprise data warehouses (EDWs) and using business intelligence (BI) tools to report historically on businesses performance. Today, we have new tools that can deliver a more detailed, granular level data interpretation – and new platforms that enable near real-time analytics to be seamlessly integrated into both virtual and physical domains. What’s different now?  Advanced statistical, data mining, and machine learning algorithms dig deeper to find patterns that traditional BI tools may not reveal. Big data has breathed new life into the possibilities because more data can mean more and better predictive models.  

According to Thomas Davenport, and Jeanne Harris, authors of Competing on Analytics, the new science of winning  refers to the skills, technologies, applications and practices for continuous iterative exploration and investigation of past business performance to gain insight and drive business planning.  What we at Capgemini like to refer to as — Analytics Maturity. 

The goal of analytics maturity is to drive organizational efficiencies and overall improvement. A true data driven analytic solution will help an organization to tackle their most complex problems and create unique, predictive capabilities, driving intelligent decisions. For instance, we would advocate using analytics to determine how revenue among certain business units is trending statistically in an effort to predict future plans, decisions and outcomes.

In the past, driving informed business decisions by way of analytic output was controlled by statisticians who then created disconnected reports to deliver a slice of the output to selected users. When organizations take this approach to analytics, valuable output is often not distributed to the people who needed it the most. When a company reaches Analytics Maturity – most often through early adoption of big data technologies – where the output or the outcomes of the offline analytics are being driven into real-time business processes, the insights derived from big data analytics drive future decisions accurately to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time for the right price. 

To drive informed business decisions is to provide analytic output successfully in a highly integrated environment enabling an organization to deliver forward-looking analytics using dashboards, reports and analysis delivering informed decisions and thus, higher value from the system investments through improved business outcomes.So, to us at Capgemini — analytics is now something that no longer fits in the specialist domain, offline or in background silos. Rather, it is a top-down driven initiative that is constant across the enterprise and gives the organization the ability to access all of the data that is relevant to key decisions in order to drive those decisions

The critical issues in achieving informed business decisions centers around understanding what data variables are fundamentally vital to driving the right decisions through statistical modeling and behavioral analysis or operational research.  Once a company has the mix of skills and data combined, the decision makers are able to see how the insights derived encompass operational functions right across the enterprise, from strategy to the specific business units. The outcome? CFOs make informed business decisions through analytics to meet revenue assurance objectives, working capital objectives and spend analytics across multiple channels.

Driving informed business decisions may very well become the basis of competition and growth for individual firms, enhancing productivity and creating significant value for the world economy by reducing waste and increasing the quality of products and services. After all, knowledge is profit…