Does Intelligent Business just need Business Intelligence or a good story to go with it too?


There is no doubt that our very existence on the planet, as we know it, depends on our continuing intelligent interpretation of information about our ever evolving behavior.

Paul Barsch is a clever writer who pulls data analytics together succinctly in applicable easy to digest scenarios. In his recent article “It Takes Courage to Compete on Analytics” he uses an example of a small league analytics protagonist who got a competitive edge on the big guns.

He describes Billy Beane’s approach to developing and staffing a professional baseball team and it makes for a good read.

But Paul is not the first to write about Billy Beane and the teaming approach he took with his Harvard friend Paul Depodesta . A book by Michael Lewis was written and published about Beane in 2003. It was later made into the movie “Moneyball” starring Brad Pitt. This is a wonderful human story of both the success and despair of this man who took on the establishment with an unorthodox approach; and had the courage to defy decades of “common knowledge” in assembling a winning baseball team, yes using analytics.

Interesting too the book is parodied in the Simpsons episode "MoneyBART", that premièred in October, 2010 and in which Lisa manages Bart‘s Little League baseball team using sabermetric principles which are attributed to Bill James who has scientifically analyzed baseball in his writings since the 1970’s

So it seems analytics even in the ubiquitous dysfunctional world of the Simpsons touches everyone. And as Paul Barsch says about Billy Beane, who despite his oblivion now, has had the last say with his methods being all pervasive having changed the way the game is played.

But it remains clear to me that for many of us plebs, analytics is typically deemed as something for the the astute of mind. For the rest of us is it to enjoy when it shows up in a good story.

Is Time not spent for a customer, wasted time?


It is very hard when waste deep in alligators snapping at you, to drain the swamp to get rid of them

I have not written much lately, being a bit busy doing what I need to do to take care of business.

Today I returned to the internet to find that very apt chestnut when I looking for insights on problem for a customer. They, like many, have a good business that just needs attention to grow and produce good money outcomes.

In their case their Sales Management is assuring a good pipeline of continuing new business however delays and financial control on deliveries seemed to be the heart of their issues.

They are not a small business and they do the hard stuff, like budgets and financial reporting to understanding what is going on financially. They have also just completed implementing a performance reporting system to automate untimely grunt work constraining that and to give them more visibility with collaborative operational control.

Their project covered three aspects, namely financial, operations and sales pipeline reporting; all the right things you would think. Yet even so their forecasts are still less than desirable.

Now with their financials much slicker with KPI’s and line items now systematically reported at both the consolidated and in detail at departmental levels, it still basically tells them what they already knew, albeit a bit more assuredly with online access and drill down and so on and potentially a bit faster.

Now too Sales pipelines is moving to systematically dovetail into the business forecasting framework with granular transparency on customer, account manager and business lines projections: And operations too are now able to get moving to have things under control with more systematic reporting on revenue and costing controls thru to gross profit levels. And operations  KPI reporting is now also designed to expose delivery timing issue earlier.

Making it all work means there is still more to be done to cement work practice improvement changes in what will evolve to be a more collaborative transparent way of working.

But even then this is still may not be not enough. The issue at hand with new controls starting to take root, and issues now more visible, is taking the next step to address the underlying business and planning processes.

More importantly, getting a performance reporting process to become more plan outcomes accountable and business unit performance management centric is the key. This shift is designed to help business managers see where the business is heading and why. And in turn what is needs to change to ensure business processes accountability is clear. This makes shareholders and stakeholders much happier too.

Business gurus say, being able to concentrate every minute of day to make customers happy is the goal of every business So taking time to plan the business may seem like a wasted minutes, even though you have to do it.

But finding a way to stand back and look at what you are doing is important, Alligators or not.

In looking for some insights to find the right answers, I found this video entitled Bob Young’s Three Rules of Success, I have also sent this on my customer.