“A lot of our clients are using data not just for reporting purposes but to predict things that are likely to happen as a consequence of a series of things going on,” adds Maunsell, offering yet another digital dimension for organisations on both sides of the Tasman to potentially exploit.
While it doesn’t take a Gartner analyst or industry expert to document that CIOs and key decision makers within organisations understand the value and importance of data to a business, in New Zealand specifically, with a strong make-up of small and medium sized businesses, as well as a host of emerging start-up companies, Maunsell says of Accenture’s offerings, Analytics-as-a-Service has proven to be most popular.
“It’s a short sharp way of getting results for clients and is perfect for lowering the level of entry for smaller sized businesses,” he advises.
With both Kiwi and Australian businesses utilising Accenture’s Analytics-as-a-Service offering in the market, Maunsell believes if businesses are generating data from their operations, irrespective of how many heads they have; “they will find value.”
The Digital Age
Imagine this, hypothesises Maunsell; “if you sat down with a client ten years ago and imagined their needs in 2015, and painted that vision - wouldn’t that be exceptional information for your company to work towards?
“You might be a little bit wrong, or even a whole bit wrong, but at least you’re on a path.”
So with digital, Maunsell, who also oversees the company’s Auckland and Wellington offices from a digital perspective, advises organisations to place the customer at the end of the experience, and think, for example, what does Fonterra’s customer look like in 2030? Or Tower Insurance? Or Westpac?
“Paint their needs,” he adds, “not just the brand that they supply but other needs then ask yourself whether you have the capabilities to service that customer and if you don’t, develop a targeting operating model to head towards, because that’s the only way a business will be able to service that customer.”
As the Data Lake bubble away, and the analytics becomes the new black, Maunsell appreciate that not every business is, in the word’s of Gartner, a digital business, they don’t all embrace data and they don’t all see the value.
“But my advice for those who don’t necessarily know where to start, and require some organisation alignment is to seek a quick win,” he claims.
“Businesses need to do something with their data now, to prove its worth to the entire organisation. So for the key decision makers out their looking for a business case, use the data you’re sitting on now and chase those easy early victories.
“Even the businesses who are adamant they possess no data, chances are, they are still probably sitting on a stack of data.”
Instead of spending countless board meetings and endless presentations trying to convince the non-believers about the merits of data, those who go out into the wild and chase an easy target can return to the boardroom and say; ‘Hey, look what we’ve just achieved through data.’
“It creates serious momentum in an organisation and the great thing about utilising data is that unlike before, businesses don’t aren’t required to place procurement requests before waiting for a piece of hardware to be delivered,” Maunsell adds.
“The tools are available and can be sourced from the cloud.”
Looking ahead to 2015 and beyond, and taking a leaf out of the Team SCA line of thinking, wouldn’t it be valuable to use the data of today to predict the data of tomorrow?
But let’s remember, cautions Maunsell, while macro trends may dominate industry chit chat, customers are not macro trends, they are the here and now, the present and the focus.
“It’s important to gain a sense for where things are heading but you need to be aware that it’s not every nine months you’ll be providing your customers with new capabilities,” he adds.
“What we advise is that when businesses are in positions to constantly ingest data, constant refinement is the only way to guarantee relevance.”
While a strong dependance on data is widely regarded as matter of fact, to truly reshape performance, captured numbers must make sense, analysed in a way that generates distinct advantage in a competitive market, and that then is truly the art of unleashing the power of digital.