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The growing role of big data in achieving operational excellence

01 Oct 2019

Article by Enlighten chief information officer Ian Boyd

In recent years, ‘data’ has proven it’s more than just an industry buzzword.

It is one of the core elements of a digitally intelligent company and it is the key to unlocking real operational excellence.

Yet, Gartner indicates that data and analytics are still in the “early adoption” phase, which makes it a competitive advantage for organisations that use data and analytics to create a data-driven culture focused on delivering business outcomes. 

Gartner equally indicates that this early adoption phase will soon change, predicting that by 2022, 90% of corporate strategies will state information as a critical asset and analytics as an essential competency.

The key for leaders is to embrace the data available to them, understand which of it is important (versus distraction), and harness its power to reap several business benefits.

Here I discuss three of those:

1.   Data analytics leads to empowered and agile teams

Data is the backbone that supports teams in their decision-making process.

Having access to solid data provides teams with the confidence to swiftly make changes (and can even reverse decisions if the numbers are trending in the wrong direction), thereby allowing more agility to respond to the ever-evolving needs of customers and market opportunities.

Equally, a big data analytics platform combs through the detail of operations to detect patterns that can empower teams to track their KPIs.

The same data is shared across all organisational levels, and as a result, everybody is aware of the effect their behaviour and actions have on performance in real-time, without the need to wait until the end of the month.

2.   Watch the organisational culture change from reactive to proactive

Predictive analytics software allows businesses to anticipate and plan resources without responding in a “fire drill” manner.

Using data to underpin important conversations allows teams to pre-empt issues and proactively intervene before it is too late.

This proactive approach has a positive flow-on effect on organisational culture by, for example, avoiding unscheduled overtime for team members.

Predictive analytics can also help coordinate projects that have a lot of moving parts because milestones are captured by a wider lens that study historical patterns and unique project elements.

This allows teams to estimate the effort and resources required to complete a project, on-time and on-budget.

3.   Achieve a true omnichannel experience

In most cases, one consumer channel has additional or different information about the customer from another, leading not only to inefficiencies and inaccuracies but also to missed opportunities.

Aggregating all customer information and achieving a 360-degree view is only possible with a modern data management platform.

It will connect to all systems, capture the information, match it, then merge the data to build the correct picture.


There is significant efficiency, reduced costs and more accurate figures to be gained by capitalising on data.

A successful Operational Excellence strategy can be the difference between mediocrity and market leadership.

Today, enhancing your Operational Excellence journey with data is neither something you can put off, nor take lightly.

While people are often regarded as one of the most difficult resources to leverage, they can also provide incredible returns when empowered by the right tools.

And the pace of your businesses progress is set by its people’s visibility of and access to data.

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