Learn how divisional leaders can overcome organisational challenges to drive value through data analytics.

The data analytics journey typically involves several phases, each critical to achieving data-driven success. It starts with the Primitive Stage, where organisations begin collecting and storing data but lack sophisticated analytics capabilities, so value is restricted. Next, the Transitional Stage sees the implementation of basic analytics tools and processes, often resulting in isolated successes, but value is questioned. In the Strategic Stage, organisations adopt a more integrated approach, using advanced analytics to drive business strategy and decision-making, and value is driven. Finally, the Game-Changing Stage represents the pinnacle of the data analytics journey, where data analytics is woven into the organisation’s products and services, providing a competitive advantage. Innovation is key to the strategy, and value is multiplied.

We often encounter an interesting dilemma in large groups of companies. While the group might be in the strategic stage of the data analytics journey, some divisions or subsidiaries remain in the primitive or transitional stages. Companies typically allocate critical data analytics resources to areas with the highest expected returns. Consequently, divisions or subsidiaries with substantial value-generating opportunities might not get the attention they need from the experts in the group to realise that value.

Real-World Example

We have encountered this challenge with several divisions within larger groups. For instance, we helped an international FMCG group’s marketing division navigate the complexities of multiple corporate and offshore shared service structures. They faced challenges in gathering high-quality sales data and analysing it efficiently to improve their market share and grow revenue from specific customers. Through targeted strategies, we addressed these issues and enabled significant improvements, enabling the division to achieve its objectives, despite the challenges.

Keys to Success: The 5Rs Framework

Success in embarking on a data analytics journey within a division hinges on five key concepts, as detailed in my book: “Accelerate Your Data Value Confidently”:

  • Readiness: Identify sufficient value-generating opportunities to support “divisional readiness.” These opportunities should be specific to your division but can also include cross-divisional initiatives.
  • Ringleader: Secure an executive sponsor at the group level who will support your proposed data analytics journey. Work together to influence the ultimate decision-makers, who are often part of a forum such as an investment committee.
  • Results: Excite decision-makers by producing an evidence-based view of potential results. For revenue generating opportunities, this could include the results of market research, feedback from specific customer interactions, etc. For cost-saving opportunities, a thorough analysis must be performed, which could include competitor analysis or benchmarking, root cause analysis, the results of a proof of value (POV), etc. The evidence of potential value must be presented effectively to support your proposed journey.
  • Roadmap: Consolidate your value-generating initiatives, determine foundational initiatives and delivery resource requirements, and prioritise these on a clearly defined roadmap. Perform a gap analysis to consider available shared service resources versus externally-sourced resources, and plan for the application of mandated policies and standards or technology. Balance the delivery of immediate value with sustaining long-term value.
  • ROI: Forecast the value your journey is expected to produce and create a budget with detailed cost estimates for your delivery resource requirements. Understand that managing shared corporate resources may be more expensive and less effective than outsourcing or employing your own resources. Careful planning is essential to navigate these complexities.

Following the structured approach outlined in the 5Rs framework ensures that your divisional data analytics journey is well-planned, effectively executed, and aligned with both divisional and organisational goals. This approach will help you navigate the complexities of intercompany relationships and secure the necessary support and resources to achieve your objectives.

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Written by Karl Dinkelmann CA(SA). Karl is the CEO of Nexus Data, and a visionary leader in business and data analytics strategy. With nearly two decades of experience, Karl has spearheaded transformative initiatives for global organisations, including Nestle, AIG, Dimension Data and several others. His consulting work has led to clients generating multiple millions of dollars in value, and the establishment of class-leading data functions. Karl’s strategic vision empowers organisations to unlock accelerated
business value from their data.