Doing Business The Data-Driven Way

Zachary Tumin

Doing Business The Data-Driven WayThere’s a new way of doing an old way of business. I recently completed a report on big data, and in the course of my research, found that today data analytics confer power to gain advantage in ways hardly imagined a decade ago.

At Cisco, Theresa Kushner’s strategic marketing group mined historic data and social media mentions for customers who revealed both a “propensity to buy,” and a high “readiness to buy.”  Cisco’s sales force converted that insight to sales uplift of $4.2 billion.

EMI Music’s Million Interview database let David Boyle and his scouts play “Moneyball” Billy Beane-style with music hits, scoring home runs for fans and artists. The result: EMI rises from back-on-its heels to a global music powerhouse.

Mount Sinai Hospital in New York optimized its patients’ first 8 to 12 hours in the hospital, running hundreds of simulations. With improved utilization, Mt. Sinai achieved the financial effect of adding 100 new beds – without actually adding one.

Cisco, EMI, and Mount Sinai Hospital are not alone. McKinsey research shows data-driven businesses outperform their peers by a wide margin across every category.  No surprise there. Gaining advantage from data is nothing new. But converting data to insight to results is hardly a given. In fact, some might say it’s the age-old challenge of leadership, and as hard as ever.

Today, things are different. As never before, you can see and be observed, talk to and be talked about, sense the present and predict the future.

What’s making the difference? Everyone is digitally empowered. Social tools have surfaced in the enterprise and are changing the very fabric of business and engagement. We are mobile, and apps on phones and tablets give us new ways to discover and collaborate, one by one or by the millions.

Meanwhile, firms have stockpiled huge stores of historical transaction data. Married to the new digital exhaust of our calls, tweets, clicks, and texts, this can create powerful insight to the past, the moment, and the future – and competitive advantage for companies that unlock it. I’ll outline some tactics for creating this advantage in future posts.