7 Steps to Analytics Success

Building a data-driven culture becoming more critical for distributors.

Companies that resist building an analytics culture will fall further behind as big data becomes more ubiquitous and continues to grow exponentially, according to Paul St. Germain, who delivered the keynote address Tuesday at the Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International conference in Orlando, FL.

Companies of all sizes can benefit from making their organizations more data-driven, says St. Germain, wholesale distribution leader, IBM Corp., and co-author of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors book Facing the Forces of Change.

"It doesn't matter if you're a multibillion-dollar business or a $10 million business," he said. The opportunities are there for both."

Unfortunately, distributors don't always know where to begin and often get overwhelmed with the surplus of advice on how and why to begin benchmarking.

"You've got data, you've got insights, but now what do you do?" St. Germain asked. "You must take action on the data."

His advice for taking action:

  1. Start with self-analysis of your current state.
  2. Identify a high-value, achievable, high-profile business and map in detail the end deliverables.
  3. Find a supply chain partner who is willing to pilot an analytics plan with you for an affordable entrance into the world of data.
  4. Establish strong executive support and funding.
  5. Develop the company in parallel with the analytics platform without letting one outgrow the other.
  6. Consider every use case as being capable of standing on its own, while also adding to the platform capability (as a shared service).
  7. Measure, quantify and publicize success.

Bringing analytics to life can uncover economic projections, consumer spending habits and market demand, and distributors must understand how these changes will affect their business along with the best ways to react to them.

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