The Need for Speed in Business
Most organizations are well aware that they are sitting on “Big Data” – meaning quite simply a lot of information. And most also realize that harnessing Big Data for better decision-making requires re-engineering how information is managed in business processes.
That is hard to do. And it is even harder to do quickly.
I recently read a Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog, entitled CMOs and CIOs Need to Get Along to Make Big Data Work, which highlighted one aspect of this challenge:
CMOs, tasked with driving growth, are pounding the table demanding that the surfeit of customer data their companies are accumulating be turned into increased revenue. CIOs, tasked with turning technology into revenue, are themselves pounding the table demanding better requirements for Big Data initiatives.
Quite rightly, marketing wants to mine business gold from masses of customer data—they know the data is there, but the processes to get at it may not be designed to enable it. And while IT is aware of new technologies to help manage and leverage Big Data—the legacy systems storing the information from different business processes may not talk to each other, let alone feed Big Data analysis and inform better decision-making.
And both departments may be frustrated with the speed of progress.
I believe there are at least three things that must align in order to move forward: innovation (some may call it change), business processes and employee engagement.
We recently sponsored research by the Economist Intelligence Unit, The Challenge of Speed: Driving Slow in the Fast Lane which found that while improving core business processes is ranked as the number one strategy for maintaining a competitive position over the next three years, a mere 29% believe that they can rapidly re-engineer these or other processes.
I was struck by what seems to be a clear identification of two obstacles: the inability to effectively link technology platforms; and the difficulty getting employees or business units to adopt a common approach.
My reading of the HBR blog suggests a relatively straight-forward approach that begins with CMOs clearly articulating their business goals and specific requirements of any Big Data initiative. CIOs can use this guidance to provide feasibility and cost analytics. Together, both have what they need to reach common ground, negotiate tradeoffs in cost and time, and make the best choices for the business as a whole to move forward.
I guess you have to make the time to engineer for speed.
Several colleagues of mine are working with senior business executives from around the globe to do just that. They are taking a fresh look at traditional ways of working, involving employees in change programmes and optimising business critical processes (for more than just better use of Big Data).
Managed services with expertise in document and information processes can help to relieve some of the pressures of transforming processes. As a result, their organisations can move faster, are more responsive to client needs and can focus on staying fast in the race to success.