This is Part 5 of a series on analytics which will appear each week on The TIBCO blog. You can read Part 1, Isolate Problems and Use Analytics to Solve Them; Part 2, Data Visualization Saves Time; and Part 3, Moving Beyond Excel: It’s Not a Breakup, but a Breakthrough; Part 4 Visual Data Discovery for a Competitive Advantage.
Ubiquitous communications are making it possible for companies around the world to compete on a more level playing field, notes Thomas L. Friedman in his book, “The World Is Flat.” We’ve seen relative newcomers such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Zappos grow their businesses in leaps and bounds, thanks in large part to their intelligent use of data and technology. Companies in emerging countries such as Brazil, India, China, and Vietnam are also capitalizing on high-speed communications and the use of data to compete successfully against established companies in a wide range of industries.
As the pace of business continues to accelerate and competition increases, company leaders and their teams need to open their minds to new ideas and approaches and be more willing to take risks.
Easier Said Than Done
“Years of delayering, outsourcing, and right-sizing have left employees insecure and more risk-averse than ever as they focus on protecting themselves and their status within the enterprise,” notes learning strategist Julie Winkle Giulioni in a recent blog post on leadership.
There are different ways that company leaders can foster cultures of risk-taking (e.g. encouraging employees to take educated chances on new approaches to business by removing the threat of retribution and rewarding success). It’s also important to enable employees by providing them with the knowledge and tools necessary to help them understand their own risk tolerances and capacities, so they’re able to blaze new trails confidently, notes Giulioni.
This includes the use of data discovery in predictive analytics by empowering employees to uncover previously undetected business opportunities or innovative approaches to serving customers, while enabling them to detect the potential risks involved in pursuing them.
Provide Tools that Employees can Use and Understand
Employees “need to understand the big picture, where the organization is going and their role in getting there,” writes Giulioni. “They need to have some level of business acumen and a sense of the business landscape and factors impinging upon it. This information is the context required to consider, calibrate, and ultimately seize risks that have a good likelihood of driving results.”
For instance, an investment manager for a retail bank can use data discovery and data visualization techniques to identify the more high-value customers and prospects. The investment manager can use predictive analytics to assess the revenue potential for developing a mobile app or optimizing a mobile website for this customer segment, as well as the inherent risks associated with making investment accounts accessible via smartphones or tablets.
Cloud-based, self-service analytics tools can help employees obtain the “big picture” by connecting them with a wide range of data sets from inside (CRM, financial, operational) and outside (social media networks, market data, Internet of Things) the company.
A cloud-based analytics platform with data visualization capabilities can also help companies foster risk-taking attitudes by making it possible for individual employees and teams to better interpret the data that’s presented to them. This way, even non-technical subject matter experts can perform self-directed data discovery and assess the risks associated with different scenarios
Predictive analytics tools that are intuitive, yet powerful enough for different classes of users, create incredible opportunities for companies to spot inventive ways to accelerate growth while distinguishing the potential risks associated with them. It’s a great way for business leaders to help promote a risk-taking culture while providing employees with the tools they need to act confidently.