« The world has become excited about big data and advanced analytics not just because the data are big but also because the potential for impact is big. Our colleagues at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) caught many people’s attention several years ago when they estimated that retailers exploiting data analytics at scale across their organizations could increase their operating margins by more than 60 percent and that the US healthcare sector could reduce costs by 8 percent through data-analytics efficiency and quality improvements.
Unfortunately, achieving the level of impact MGI foresaw has proved difficult. True, there are successful examples of companies such as Amazon and Google, where data analytics is a foundation of the enterprise.2 But for most legacy companies, data-analytics success has been limited to a few tests or to narrow slices of the business. Very few have achieved what we would call “big impact through big data,” or impact at scale. For example, we recently assembled a group of analytics leaders from major companies that are quite committed to realizing the potential of big data and advanced analytics. When we asked them what degree of revenue or cost improvement they had achieved through the use of these techniques, three-quarters said it was less than 1 percent.
In previous articles, we’ve shown how capturing the potential of data analytics requires the building blocks of any good strategic transformation: it starts with a plan, demands the creation of new senior-management capacity to really focus on data, and, perhaps most important, addresses the cultural and skill-building challenges needed for the front line (not just the analytics team) to embrace the change.3
Here, we want to focus on what to do when you’re in the midst of that transformation and facing the inevitable challenges to realizing large-scale benefits (exhibit). For example, management teams frequently don’t see enough immediate financial impact to justify additional investments. Frontline managers lack understanding and confidence in the analytics and hesitate to employ it. Existing organizational processes are unable to accommodate advancements in analytics and automation, often because protocols for decision making require multiple levels of approval. » […] Read more
By David Court*
*David Court is director in McKinsey’s Dallas office.
The author would like to acknowledge the contributions of Mohammed Aaser, Matt Ariker, Brad Brown, and Stephanie Coyles.
BigDataFr recommends: McKinsey Quarterly: « Marketing & Sales New and Improved »