Is it Time for Small Data to Step into the Limelight?

The insights your organization needs might be closer than you think…

Original Source: LinkedIn Pulse

A recent Capgemini study stressed that many organizations continually fail to exploit the strategic advantages prevalent within their own small, operational data. The paper contains a myriad of supporting statistics and case studies that succinctly encapsulate how small data can differentiate and drive business improvements, so much so, that if I’m not careful I’ll just end up plagiarizing the whole document. So before I end up wearing out my CTRL, C and V buttons, I thought I should restrict further references down to one — something to whet the appetite and set the scene. Here we go then. The Capgemini paper shows that those that place a strategic emphasis on operational data have gone on to reap incredible rewards; Tesco were able to reduce supply chain costs by £100m, Network Rail realized cost savings totaling £125m over a five-year period, whilst BP saved $200m in capital expenditure in reduced non-productive asset time. Big numbers. Big savings.

Small data is the lifeblood of your business. Without small data, organizations would turn into a chaotic, uncontrollable mess. Poor data control at an operational level is responsible for a significant numbers of customer service issues. Just think how many data capture points exist in the supply chain alone; from inventory that doesn’t exist, old due dates on production and purchase orders, missing master data, misplaced credit limits, wrong ship-to addresses, out-of-date pricing conditions, wrong lead-times, incorrect BOMs — the list goes on. Strategy therefore needs to be followed up with disciplined and aligned execution; based on a clear understanding of business goals, their required contribution and the reason for current results. The devil lies in the detail — in the small data that flows throughout your organization.

Those that employ operational analytics will find that employees are better equipped to execute company strategy. The clear, actionable intelligence contained within these types of tools, enables users to make decisions based on their ability to align to the strategic motives set out by senior leadership teams. The back office underpins the customer experience at the front-end.

Big Data, small data’s younger, sexier brother, is continually touted and positioned as the silver bullet all organizations must want and need to employ. However I want to concentrate on the little guy, the information trapped within an organization’s own four walls, because small data needs an evangelist too. So consider this; as Big Data matures, organizations will soon find themselves with a plethora of new data sources they’ll be able to mine for new insights. Surely then, the ability to understand and control your own operational data should be placed under equal, if not more, strategic importance? Otherwise organizations will soon find that these newly captured big data insights have become redundant due to an internal inability to act on these insights effectively. It is essentially the same logic as winning a new shiny sports car but later finding out you are unable to drive it.

While this data may be less exciting and smaller in volume than its big data brother, it is not necessarily smaller in terms of impact. The insights you need may be closer than you think.

Are you in control of your small, operational data? Try Every Angle’s new supply chain efficiency quiz to see how you stack up against the rest.

This article was inspired by a piece first published in the Telegraph and written by Every Angle CEO, Fred Hermans. You can find the original article here.