Delicious Data and Why Every Business Needs Analytics

How was your weekend, everyone? I spent my Saturday perfecting my pizza crust recipe. It turned out so well that I began to daydream that the Million Pound Menu would turn this humble pie into a food empire with locations all over the map, from Shoreditch to Brixton to Soho. The data analyst in me got me thinking if I had to manage all these locations plus the offers for franchises, how could I use SAS® to gain even more advantage over my competitors?

Indulge me a little bit more. I’d probably have a team with a:

Oh, to daydream! Like any cut-throat business, it often takes more than a good product to succeed. While I do have a really mean brick-oven pizza, it’s analytics that would give me that edge over my competitors.

Data analytics should be for everyone, including restaurants and other SMBs. Small business owners don’t usually have data on their mind, especially at the early stages of business planning. But honestly, the best time to build an analytics practice is now. Small and midsize businesses face many of the same challenges as large enterprises. The secret ace up a big company’s sleeves is data analytics. Patterns and trends in daily transactions can reveal what’s going on and allow your team to respond with data-backed strategies.

Analytics for all parts of a business

A seasoned entrepreneur knows the effort involved in launching your latest brilliant idea. It includes value creation or figuring out what people need or want, then making it. There’s marketing or attracting attention to what you’ve created and building demand for it. Then there’s sales or turning interested customers into paying customers. When people have signified their intent to purchase, there’s value delivery or making sure that you give what you promise. Finally, finance or bringing in enough money to keep going and make your effort worthwhile.

As Josh Kaufman puts it, “Roughly defined, a business is a repeatable process that:

  1. Creates and delivers something of value…
  2. That other people want or need…
  3. At a price they’re willing to pay…
  4. In a way that satisfies the customer’s needs and expectations…
  5. So that the business brings in sufficient profit to make it worthwhile for the owners to continue operation.”

The glue that holds it together

If you think about it, each stage of the business process is an opportunity to use data analytics. While your employees may have their preferred set of tools to perform analyses (spreadsheets, system reports from your chosen POS, CRM and HR applications), having a centralised data analytics platform can be beneficial for the entire organisation. By understanding the customer journey end-to-end, you are more likely to find opportunities to deliver greater value and your business is made better for it.

An analytics platform consolidates and standardises your data into a central location. It allows your business users to pull the data that is relevant to them at a specific time, for a specific purpose. The platform contains an inventory of analytic methods and a codebase that can be used repeatedly for different modelling or deployment activities. With the platform, your business units are free to create and manage their predictive models without having to rely on IT to prepare data.

Life without an analytics platform

Quite frankly, your company could do without an analytics platform. It is still technically possible to perform data analytics. Your managers can still discover trends in your customers’ behaviour. Your team can still use the reports from the different applications used in your company. However, time to uncover insights is not just as fast nor efficient. It is also possible that insights are inaccurate inconsistent.

Without an analytics platform, there can be data quality issues. Often, the data necessary to create a complete view of the company comes from separate transactional systems or in obscure spreadsheets. The way data is stored in one file may be different from how data is stored in a customer database. Standardising the information can be done manually for a small set of data; however, as the volume increases, the task becomes more difficult. Without the necessary automation, compiling and standardising data can be prone to error.

Without an analytics platform, work may be inefficient. Manual compilation of data can be time-consuming. It’s a repetitive task that may leave some of your employees disheartened. Work performed by one business unit may also be required by another. Instead of data scientists having readily available data to analyse, they must first ensure that the data is trustworthy. If it is beyond the skills or scope of a data scientist, wrangling the data may require the IT department’s intervention.

Without an analytics platform, data scientists may be unable to compare the performance of a model created by another analyst, especially if the model is created in a different language.

On the other hand, with an analytics platform, you are assured of the quality and accuracy of the models and reports that your business users create. Since the data is centralised in a single repository, a data warehouse or a data lake, data is consistent. With a platform, models created in R, for example, can be readily compared with one built using a Python library.

Additionally, your IT department remains compliant with data governance standards through audit trails, model lineage, and source data.

With a more efficient way to uncover accurate insight, getting company-wide buy-in for a strategy could be much easier since the process is transparent to all stakeholders.

Businesses that create a centralised analytics platform that is inclusive, scalable and resilient drives business value from your data while mitigating risk.

As Sarah Gates, Analytics Platform Marketing Manager from SAS, puts it, “A unified platform that works with your IT requirements to govern the entire analytics lifecycle gives you the ability to quickly adapt to the full spectrum of analytic opportunities in your organisation, foster innovation and streamline the deployment of the results.”

One for all, all for one

When different users across a business need to access data in various ways, an analytics platform maybe just that foundation that you need to transform your company into a data-driven organisation. Experience how an analytics platform delivers business value from analytics, from concept to innovation and implementation to ROI. No matter what your business and what scale, don’t wait to build your data analytics platform and begin innovating the smart way today.

The post Delicious Data and Why Every Business Needs Analytics appeared first on MySASteam.

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