What word connects professional baseball with radiology at a children’s hospital? That’s right: analytics. In fact, it’s a word that links Major League Baseball with virtually any industry and commercial outpost looking to run a smarter, faster, and more efficient operation.

Indeed, business analytics has increasingly become indispensable for companies wanting to ‘crack’ their productivity challenge. Let’s find out how.

Seeking an advantage

The baseball angle comes from the now famous Moneyball storyline. Here, Billy Beane first put analytics to work in 2002 for the Oakland Athletics to help build a winning team.

Granted the information being used wasn’t that extensive. Relatively small sets of historical data on players’ past performance to aid with scouting talent. But it helped create a revolution in major league sports – which continues through to this day.

A wider application

Analytics also has an obvious and far-reaching impact on businesses: worldwide revenues for business analytics and big data is expected to grow to more than $187 billion by next year.

Such numbers are driven by two distinct (though complementary) business objectives:

  • To find value from the ever growing ‘dump’ of data being collected by organizations (IDC has estimated that only 0.5% of the world’s data is being analyzed)
  • To move beyond ‘gut instinct’ when making key business decisions (“should we outsource this?”, “is this the best market for our product?” etc.)

Setting new targets

Hence the move of business analytics into the mainstreamGartner, after all, did predict that 2017 was the year this would happen. The same analyst has also been busy working out the big trends, with one in particular that stands out:

“Instead of just reflecting on business performance, data analytics will increasingly become the driver of operations”.

Companies are setting quantitative goals (sales targets, delivery dates etc.), and then tracking progress on a daily basis. And it’s this sort of outcome-based approach that gets people excited, because it takes them places they haven’t been to before – and helps identify future (unexpected) targets.

Top 5 benefits

So let’s focus in a little more on the ability of business analytics to drive productivity. Let’s look at the how, through 5 key benefits:

#1 Data powers continual performance improvements

That goes for both individuals and team performance. The right analytical output can provide a rich resource for constantly expanding insights – and reveal fresh opportunities for doing things better.

For example, an analysis of productivity may highlight that those employees working from home complete significantly more tasks than their in-office colleagues. If so, the raw data is there to help push through a more wide-ranging work-from-home policy.

#2 Analytics stimulates better decision-making

Put simply, data can help back-up decisions with hard evidence – which is particularly useful in situations where opinions differ or emotions are running high.

Instead of intuition or wishful thinking, today’s executives have access to a body of knowledge and analytics engines that get smarter as they absorb a company’s actual outcomes (and connect them to the data being collected).

And importantly this is all happening automatically and dispassionately ‘behind the scenes’, and free from any political or financial bias.

#3 Analytics is the key to smarter recruitment

From the ‘talent shortage’ to skills gaps, finding qualified new hires can be a source of exasperation for any business.

It’s also fast becoming a key point of differentiation. As Josh Bersin at Deloitte Consulting puts it: “companies should get smarter about every single talent decision. Enter the world of ‘data-driven people decision-making’”.

As well as hiring, analytical insights can also contribute to more effective training methods. The domino effect of all this being improved retention (that leads to), improved performance, better customer services, and increased cost savings.

#4 Analytics delivers a competitive advantage

Analytics and data are an undeniable part of the modern workplace – with the possibilities surrounding big data growing dramatically in recent years.

It’s also a subject that’s increasingly important for companies looking to outperform their competitors. Numerous surveys can be found to support the fact that those organizations with the most advanced analytics tend to pull away from their peers.

Plus, such companies are also 2 x more likely to be in their industry’s top quartile of financial performance.

#5 Analytics drives increased revenues

Looking again at the survey from the University of Texas into data sets from Fortune 1000, companies in every major industry, the report states:

  • Increasing data usability by 10% increases revenue by more than $2 billion annually
  • Improving data quality (and sales access to it) by just 10% increases return on equity by 16%

Creating your own Moneyball

So from better performance and decision making, to enhanced recruitment and a competitive advantage, it’s easy to see why analytics appeals to the sporting arena.

It’s also easy to see why it remains high on the priority list of many CIOs, and the key to standing out in a crowded market.

To get your business analytics knocking balls out of the park, COMPAREX can offer a range of big data services to keep you on top of the league.

A home run indeed.

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