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What Can Baseball and Business Intelligence Teach Us About Winning in Business?

September 7, 2016

Guest Blogger: Eric Levy, VP of Solution Sales, Tricension

 

“If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete!” – Jack Welch, CEO, General Electric

I want you to answer two questions:

What is your competitive advantage?

How do you use available information to create a competitive advantage?

In the movie Moneyball, Billy Bean (Brad Pitt) and Sandy Alderson (Jonah Hill) showed us even an organization with a serious disadvantage can become competitive with the right information. The movie shows the importance of using data and analytics in defining and creating a competitive advantage.

Moneyball focuses on the Oakland A’s evidence-based approach, utilizing Sabermetrics, to assemble the most competitive baseball team at the lowest cost. Based on statistical analysis, the A’s determined two key metrics, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, would be the key to overcoming a serious disadvantage of almost 1/3 the payroll of the MLBs biggest teams. Players who exceled at these two metrics were less expensive to acquire than previously valued metrics. This data-driven approach to finding the most undervalued players, allowed the 2002 A’s with approximately $44 million in annual salary to be competitive with the New York Yankees $125 million payroll.

In today’s fast-paced business world, having instant access to key decision-making information is critical. It not only provides a competitive advantage, but it is also directly tied to an organization’s ability to compete.

As a business leader, you are most likely inundated with information from a variety of sources from within and outside your organization. In our modern information age, access to the right information at the right time gives organizations the competitive edge necessary to compete and win.

Business Intelligence (BI) provides business leaders the tools and information necessary to make the right calls exactly when needed most. BI combines data, technology, analytics, and knowledge to help business professionals make the optimal decisions that drive their organization’s success.

“High expectations are the key to absolutely everything.” - Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart

Sam Walton’s famous quote has never been more accurate as it is in today’s highly competitive world. It is also critical to be able to “inspect what you expect.”

The ability to inspect or analyze data and look for leading indicators of client engagement, ROI, unmet needs and problem areas ensures expectations will be met up front or through course corrections.

In addition to giving organizations a competitive advantage with knowledge, BI provides an organization the opportunity to continually measure and inspect results in real-time.

An organization's ability to set expectations and measure the accomplishments in a timely manner has always been key to organizational success. As an organization grows, BI can greatly help expectation setting, success measuring and business optimization scale effectively to meet the organization's growing demands.

 

Want to learn more about how Business Intelligence can help your company? Eric Levy from Tricension, will be presenting a course in Kansas City on Business Intelligence at Enterprise University on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. During the course, he’ll be highlighting Business Intelligence topics, freely available tools and larger enterprise solutions that help organizations run more intelligently. Find out if this class make sense for you by taking the Business Intelligence Quiz below.

 

Take the Business Intelligence Quiz

Score Each Answer on a Scale of 1-10

1. Our data sources are easy to get to and tell the whole story, not just pieces of the story at a time. 1 - We have a lot of disparate data. There in no way to look at all the data points in a cohesive way in order to make sound decisions.
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10 - Our data is aggregated and it is easy to see the connections between different data sources.


2. Each department or employee has a set of metrics that is measured and reviewed on a regular basis. The metrics are calculated automatically based on collected data and the employee has instant access to the metrics. 1 - Each team member works autonomously without knowledge or measurement of what is expected.
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10 - All of our team members have instant access to metrics that measure and give them feedback on their daily performance.


3. We utilize Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Score Cards in all of our departments. 1 - We aren’t familiar with the use of KPI’s or Score Cards.
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10 - Everyone on our team has KPIs and Score Cards that are reviewed frequently.


4. Each team member and team leader has a dashboard, from which they work daily. 1 - We aren’t familiar with the concept of dashboards.
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10 - We have an online dashboard platform that allows all of our team members and leaders to see where they are and where they need to be.


5. Our management team “manages by exception”. Management can clearly see when there is an exception to a defined process and step in when necessary to resolve key issues. 1 - We lack clearly defined processes and the management team is involved in many decisions without knowledge of an exception/non-exception.
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10 - Our management team only is primarily involved in day-to-day activities when an exception occurs and is able to clearly see the exceptions through a dashboard.


6. We have clearly defined data management policies and do not have conflicting duplicate information in various systems in the organization (i.e. a client’s contact information is the same in all of the following systems: Sales/CRM, Accounting, Email Marketing Automation and Support/Service). 1 - Each department maintains its own data.
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10 - We have a strong Master Data Management policy in place.


7. We are using data science and predictive analytics to drive critical business decisions. 1 - What is Data Science?
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10 - We have a Data Science Team.


8. We are able to analyze data from industry trends to understand where the organization stands and where we need to be. 1 - We don’t currently utilize outside data for key decision-making.
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10 - We have access to several sources of industry data which integrate into our Business Intelligence strategy.


9. How long does it take to setup Business Intelligence/Metrics/KPIs/Dashboards for a new employee? 1 - We don’t have a Business Intelligence Platform.
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5 - We have a BI Platform but setting up a new user is difficult or requires us to copy/paste existing user settings.
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10 - We have a role based business intelligence platform that allows us to automate the BI setup if a similar role exists in the organization.


10. If you need a custom report, how long does it take to create the report? 1 - We don’t utilize any Business Intelligence.
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5 - The turnaround time is usually a couple of days once IT has a chance to take a look.
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10 - We have a role based business intelligence platform that allows us to automate the BI setup if a similar role exists in the organization.


11. Are your routine reports available on-demand? 1 - We don’t have routine reports.
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5 - We have routine reports in Excel, but we have to manipulate the data weekly.
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10 - We have real-time or near real-time reporting capabilities in our Business Intelligence platform.

Results

Add up the score from all of your answers and see where you rank on the scale below…

(Score 1-30) If you are a company of more than 1 or 2 employees then you might not need to attend. Otherwise, it would definitely be beneficial for you to learn the management principles associated with Business Intelligence and how you can create measureable results within the organization.

(Score 31-60) You have an understanding of Business Intelligence, but it sounds like it has not been fully or cohesively implemented throughout your organization. We will review several common practices and tools that can help you gain more insights into your business.

(Score 61-80) You are on the right path to building an even more competitive business, but there are still a few foundational areas that can be improved. Attending the course will help fill gaps.

(Score 81-109) You have done an excellent job implementing a Business Intelligence strategy within your organization. With the pace of technology change, there is always room to learn new trends. We hope you can join us.

(Score 110) Maybe you can come and help teach the class! We are always happy to have additional perspectives represented.

 

This blog post brought to you by guest blogger, Eric Levy.


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