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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Focusing Effort with Data, Leveraging it with Analytics

In preparation now for a talk to local executives on the use of analytics in the enterprise I reviewed some of the work done with Business Sphere.   Its been some thirty years since I arrived at a global soap company, degree and government experience in hand,  to see how I could help them with improving their manufacturing and supply chain.  I finished my direct work there thirty years later, with a three year hiatus in a startup.

Analytics then was called Operations Research, and we applied the mathematics and the principles of the approach in many places.  Early on we were introduced to the concept of focus, and how systems could provide that ability at every level of the company.  One of the first examples we explored was how the top executives used computing power.  At the time it was unheard of for executives to have computers available directly to them, it was their admin people than ran their email, made sure they got the right reports, and were altered to key issues by phone call.

In those first efforts, we worked with the CEO to develop a method by which he would get information he needed for specific tasks.  We had not yet reached a world where we could organize information to make it easily and directly usable by the decision maker.  Make it as easy as possible to do their job with the right data.

Then, years later, as software and hardware became pervasive and mobile, a key extension was understood.  People work as individuals, and in multiple groups.  So why not give every person, every group, of any size, from new hire to CEO, the right data to do their job?  This gives you the advantage of doing their job, with the right data, as efficiently as possible.  It was also discovered that this would also focus their jobs in new ways.   Data can drive the work.  Analytics can be added to sculpt and leverage  the data.   The work is not done, it continues to move on under new names and implementations.  Stay tuned for new progress.

For more about this see my previous writings about what is now called Business Sphere.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

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