Analytics + Automation = More bad news
We’re in the early stages of a dramatic transition for the analytics industry. More and more of the jobs that were previously done by analysts are being automated. Technology is changing the way organizations receive information. People are being alerted to both good and bad news as it happens and this has profound behavioral consequences for organizations.
Before automated analytics, data analysts had a choice about how or if they delivered bad news. As that process is automated, good and bad news will be delivered without fear or favor up and down the hierarchy. This means a big change in the way most organizations work.
Organizations need to prepare themselves to deal with these changes. Without behavioral change, organizations may struggle to deal with bad news and miss taking advantage of the big opportunities that automated insights will unearth.
All insights will be more transparent
With automated insights, organizations need to be prepared for transparency. That’s because insights will be delivered to everyone in the organization at the same time. For example, automated analytics may send a signal that sales in Europe have dipped. This alert would be sent to the CEO, the person who runs Europe, and the person who manages sales globally at the same time.
For the insights to be effective, they have to be delivered throughout the organization. For example, if only the CEO received the automated analytics insight, they would probably start asking questions to the people who run Europe and Sales. As the questions ripple down the organization, everyone will need to see the same data to be able to answer them. By delivering insights throughout the organization at the outset, everyone will have transparency over where the questions came from.
This transparency will enable leaders to generate more conversations around the business – they will see what happened and have a better understanding of why it happened. All data is good news if you use it the right way to open up conversations. We have seen this at Yellowfin already. Since we rolled out automated analytics, people are having more meaningful and frequent conversations around our business data and what it means.
Transparency also gives people far more opportunity to change an outcome positively because issues can be identified earlier. Rather than putting out fires, leaders can guide the organization in one direction or another. For example, automated analytics may detect if people in the organization are not procuring goods or services in line with company policy. While these things would have surfaced eventually, automated analytics will surface them much faster and the company can react more rapidly.
Responding and prioritizing will be crucial
The biggest cultural change that organizations will face is finding better ways to explain and prioritize opportunities. For example, automated analytics will send alerts about changes and trends as they happen and people will need to be prepared to explain these insights far more rapidly than they do today. They’ll need to think about how long is long enough for someone to explain a change. Is it hours, days, or weeks?
Business leaders will need to address this cultural issue by prioritizing resources within the business. People will need to stop doing something so that they can respond to the information they receive. As leaders gain deeper insights into what’s working and what’s not working, their ability to prioritize resources should also become more effective. As the organization will be more transparent, everybody will already know what’s changed, so they can start to talk about what they need to do as a result of that change.
As a business leader, I want to know what’s happening in my organization regardless of whether it’s good or bad news. Every insight I receive is an opportunity to improve the business. As more information is available to organizations through things like automated analytics, there may be some hard conversations. The first instinct will be for people to react to every insight, and organizations will have to deal with this at a cultural level. But over time, these alerts will become like the pulse of the organization, providing useful insights into how the business is performing and helping leaders identify where the big opportunities lie.