Analytic evangelists often focus on the “ah ha” moment – that one analytical discovery that saves a company millions of dollars. But as James Taylor discusses in his book Smart (Enough) Systems: How to Deliver Competitive Advantage by Automating Hidden Decision Making, using analytics to automate what he terms “micro-decisions” can have an even more dramatic impact on the bottom line.
SAS Director of Marketing Nelle Schantz interviewed Taylor at a recent Media Day on the SAS campus in Cary, NC. Taylor emphasized that the most successful companies no longer make decisions “top-down.” It is the decisions that customer-facing employees make every day that determine an organization’s success. And those employees need assistance in the form of analytic information that is automated to provide clear decision support. Customer support personnel, for instance, need to know which product or service to recommend to a customer – at the moment they contact the company. To minimize a lending organization’s risk, a loan officer needs automated decision support to offer the right type of loan.
Organizations, though, often get tripped up by two concerns: The belief that they need to make their analytical effort perfect before deploying it, and the idea that this is something that is done once. Taylor is firm in his advice that analytics is an ongoing process and focusing on getting it “perfect” will keep your organization from getting out of the starting blocks.