ABy Rick Shepherd, Senior Director Operations

In working with many clients over the years and the various types of data that they collect in managing their business, it’s always interesting to see their reaction when I identify key business intelligence from the data that I don’t see in their database.

Most Business and/or Data Analyst’s today, will focus their analysis on trying to derive results from data that they have compiled to try to understand a business trend, solve critical business issues, or attempt to forecast where business performance is headed.   All this effort is very valuable in explaining events, trends, and history of business performance based on the data they have in their analysis model.   Hidden among data sets are “data gaps or inconsistencies” that actually may bring new information about customer buying decisions, business performance, and future business opportunities or risks.   A company executive should always ask the business analyst who’s presenting the results of his analysis…”what did you learn about the data you didn’t see in your analysis?”

To help solidify my point, here’s an example of an analysis where missing data was factored into the results, which dramatically changed the results and message in presenting the business intelligence results:

Over the years, Company A had established a regular process and frequency for procuring equipment from a number of equipment vendors.  An Account Executive from one of vendors was fairly consistent and aggressive in trying to get Company A’s Procurement Organization to offer up information on competitive vendors products and Company A’s future procurement plans in order to forecast the future sales opportunities for his company.  This Account Executive was keen to combine his newly acquired business intelligence and combine it with procurement history and trends for Company A.  Based on his information gathering and analysis of customer sales data in his company, a solid forecast and strategy was established for how to increase sales revenues by competing for a greater share of Company A’s equipment purchases.  All this may sound very familiar if you’re involved in Sales and the constant drive to grow sales revenue (aka quota).

What the Account Executive didn’t realize was that Company A was making some major technology changes that could only be identified by looking at what they didn’t purchase over the last 2 to 3 procurement periods.   Company A had an internal strategy to migrate to new technologies for which some of the existing vendors didn’t offer or couldn’t meet their procurement requirements.   From the external equipment vendor’s perspective it appeared that Company A was continuing their procurement trend of purchasing existing products but trying to obtain lower costs by forcing equipment vendors to be more competitive with their pricing.   Many of the equipment vendors were caught up in the competition frenzy not realizing that the foundation of their business with Company A was dissolving.  So how could this scenario have been avoided?  By assessing “both sides” of the equation in analyzing customer data.    The Account Executive should have been analyzing the situation based on the data he could see in front of him, but ALSO from the perspective of the “gaps” or “variances” in the data that would have flagged the potential risks growing in the account.

Data Analysts and many of the Industry Analytical Tools offered in the market today primarily focus on trying to make intelligence out of only the data they have under analysis.   In many cases, not taking the time to understand the “gaps” and/or “variances” in data can lead a business to incorrectly measure the health of current business or forecast future business opportunities.

To learn more about our practices to find critical business intelligence in “Missing Data,” please feel free to contact us.  You can also read more about our  Business Intelligence Solutions on our website.

 

About the Author
Rick is a Senior Director of BI Consulting Services at Bardess Group, Ltd.  He has over 30 years of experience in the IT Industry holding various positions in Engineering, Product Management, Operations and Sales.  Rick’s unique blend of both Business and Technical expertise brings a complete perspective on how to successfully design and deploy BI solutions for our diverse clients and there industries.    Rick holds a BSEE from Lawrence Technological University, been issued Patents for designs in the Telecommunications Industry, and continues to author papers and blogs to share his BI expertise amongst his peers.   To follow Rick and his “BI Buddies” subscribe to our newsletter and participate in our blogs on our website.