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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Toothpaste, Data and People at Procter & Gamble

An interesting and detailed article in Forbes on P&G's use of advanced data technology.  Note this work relates to another post I did about early attempts to deliver this kind of capability.  It was an idea we experimented with very early on and was supported from the executive suite down.  Large enterprises will increasingly have to make better decisions based on larger and complex data.    A surprisingly accurate view of what is going on there, quote below is just a taste.

" ... Procter & Gamble, the world’s biggest consumer products company, continues to be one of the leaders in the race to harness massive streams of data for managing a business better. The company has been profit-forecasting on a monthly basis for about 40 years, trying to predict components such as sales, commodity prices and exchange rates. But the amount of real-time data it has been able to process has increased vastly in the past three years, thanks to better software and Moore’s Law of increasing computing power. Now P&G borrows liberally from tools born on the Web: ubiquitous high-speed networking, data visualization and high-speed analysis on multiple streams of information. The tools allow P&G to make in minutes the decisions that used to take weeks or months, when data had to be collated and passed through committees on their way to the top.

With $79 billion in sales and 127,000 employees, P&G is on the verge of having everyone’s talents known and tracked, all information about sales decided at the executive level every week and production viewed in near real-time worldwide. The company talks in terms of increasing the amount of collected data sevenfold. The airy promises of networked technology are here, at a scale rarely, if ever, deployed before.

P&G has just started a “digital skills” inventory of its employees, establishing a baseline of skills, including how to get connected to the Internet, how to use basic collaboration and knowledge-exchanging tools for online meetings and mail, and how to tap into the company’s internal social network, P&G Pulse, for news and further training. There are higher expectations for more technical jobs, of course, or in grooming certain careers ... "

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