The Importance of Analytics for Achieving Operational Excellence

It’s no secret that the world is accumulating data at an astonishingly fast pace. There are now 4.1 billion internet users and we’ve accumulated approximately 40 trillion gigabytes of data (40 zettabytes). This data is not just being generated by people. With the growth of IoT and our transition to digital, a tremendous amount of data is now being generated by machines and connected devices.

According to Gartner, we are still in the “early adoption phase” with data and analytics. For data-driven organizations that are early adopters, this can be a huge competitive advantage. However, Gartner also states that the situation is changing quickly. “By 2022, 90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention information as a critical enterprise asset and analytics as an essential competency.”

So what does this mean for you and your organization?

Well, if you’re like most organizations —you’re collecting a lot of data. But what are you doing with that data? To really gain a competitive advantage—the ultimate goal should not be to collect as much data as possible—but to get as much value as possible from the data you are collecting.

Here are some of the ways data analytics is playing a key role in helping organizations drive operational excellence and increase competitive advantage:

Data Fusion for New Levels of Insight

Most organizations are using multiple systems for business operations and want to understand how to leverage the data from these systems to make better decisions. Business intelligence has proven to be a competitive advantage, and so they are looking for ways to aggregate and correlate data from various parts of the organization—such as finance, business development, sales, marketing, and operations. In addition, they want to leverage data from third-party sources for further analysis and insight.

No longer is it enough to simply consolidate data and bring it into a centralized, unified system. Data fusion is enabling data-centric companies to not just correlate – but to integrate multiple data sources to yield new levels of insight, innovation, integration and operations across their operations and program fulfillment processes.  With data fusion, organizations can do more complex data modeling, enabling deeper, richer analysis to drive faster results, productivity, and operational efficiencies.

Data-Driven Decision Making at Scale

Data is the fuel that supports teams in the decision-making process. Making data easily accessible to business users is the first step in empowering teams to make data-driven decisions. When data is made available to business users—along with the right self-service analytics tools—they can transform massive amounts of information into actionable intelligence. Instead of having to write complex queries, they can simply click and choose data sets and create their own visualizations from a menu of options.

Most organizations don’t have enough data scientists or back-office staff to crunch all of the data the business is collecting and needs to analyze. Self-service analytics puts the power of BI in the hands of business users, enabling them to make faster, data-driven decisions. Scaling this capability across the organization can significantly improve productivity and streamline operations. Business users can quickly gain insight from the data they are collecting to uncover new opportunities and areas for improvement.

Connecting the Dots Across the Business

Advancements in business technology are rapidly changing the traditional operational oversight process. Smart, data-driven companies are taking advantage of these advancements to connect the dots across the business and to help them manage operations in real-time.

Analytics combined with automation helps organizations connect workflows and automate tasks across the business to streamline complex operations and program management processes. Automated alerts and notifications can be set up to streamline day-to-day and macro milestone tracking. Automation also helps drive standardization and ensure consistent, quality delivery across their programs and processes.

Real-time Visibility and Insight

Metrics and performance benchmarking are a key aspect of operational excellence. Organizations must be able to measure and track performance on a consistent basis to streamline operations and to grow the business in a healthy and sustainable manner. With a modern analytics solution connected to their backend systems, teams can get real-time visibility across their operations without having to log into multiple systems.

Interactive dashboards and automated reports make it easy to track performance KPIs, projects and programs. Drill-down capabilities enable users to get instant access to the underlying data / actual system of record for further insight. When organizations have complete visibility into where they stand on revenue, profit, compliance, staffing, production schedules, deadlines, and more—it can significantly improve operations and minimize risk.

Continuous Value Creation for Customers

Continuous improvement—looking for ways to continuously improve the organization’s processes, products, and services— is a key aspect of  operational excellence. However, that in itself is not enough.  In order to grow and increase competitive advantage, an organization also needs to ensure that they are continuously increasing value for their customers. A business that stops delivering value to its customers is not sustainable over time.

To increase value for the customer it’s important to understand what the customer needs, the quality they expect, and the price they are willing to pay. Modern analytics solutions can give organizations valuable intelligence into their markets, products/services, competitors and customer segments. The solution can capture Voice of the Customer (VoC) information in multiple ways to provide insight into how to improve the customer experience. When this information is made available to teams across the organization, it helps to create a culture focused on delivering value to the customer.

New Technology Adoption

Emerging technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and natural language processing are already having a huge impact in the world of analytics and will continue to grow in importance. Many of these technologies help to derive meaning from data and even automate various types of processes and decisions.

Modern analytics platforms incorporate these new technologies and enable organizations to quickly get the insight, visibility, and control they need to keep up with constantly evolving business needs. These technologies help organizations adopt a more predictive, “forward-looking” view of their business based on trend analysis, pattern identification, customer analytics, historical data analysis, and market intelligence.  

We’ve only begun to scratch the surface with these new technologies. Organizations that understand how to capitalize on these trends can stand out from competitors that wait.


The world is accumulating data at an astonishingly fast pace. Most organizations are collecting a lot of data but still trying to make sense out of how to use the data to gain a competitive advantage. Organizations that understand the trends in data analytics and how to use analytics to improve business operations and increase the value they deliver to customers can stand out from the crowd. There is a window of opportunity. Now is the time to develop an analytics strategy to get ahead of the curve.

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