For many CEOs today, big data is at the top of the strategic agenda. At the same time, many business leaders are wondering how to turn the vast stores of data in their existing systems—in addition to the fast-growing volumes of data generated by the social Web and elsewhere—into top- and bottom-line benefits. According to a 2012 study by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., 65 percent of executives say big data and analytics is a priority for their organizations (see Figure 1, “Big Data High on Strategic Agenda,” at right). About half of business leaders say they expect to build competitive advantage with the initiative, and nearly a third intend to build a new business or tap into new profit pools.
In the category of late bloomers, business intelligence (BI) and data warehousing can be added to the list. In use for more than 20 years, BI and data warehousing’s ability to provide substantive benefits remains elusive for many companies. While hard-and-fast statistics are difficult to get, widely reported failure rates for BI projects range from 50 percent to as high as 80 percent. However, such failure rates have not stopped companies from continually trying to gain benefits from BI. The results of a survey released in January 2012 by Gartner found that among the top technology priorities for CIOs, number one was analytics and business intelligence.
Many sales executives are also overlooking some key “moneyball” metrics and doing business the old-fashioned way, by relying on unscientific or indirect guides to track and predict their results. To succeed, organizations need to do what Billy Beane did: jettison the conventional “wisdom” and introduce the right metrics. Then they can dramatically improve results and add an element of predictability and clarity to the often-murky sales process. Here are five moneyball metrics that sales execs can't afford to miss.
Think of that executive you know with her head always bent to her smartphone, checking several different dashboards, and lost somewhere in the datasphere. Got that picture clearly in your mind? Good. That’s not the kind of data-driven CMO we’re talking about. The data-driven CMO has seven little secrets that give her an edge on even the most numbers-bent executives out there. She gets the stories she needs from the information she has, and she executes informed campaigns that keep turning heads. These seven secrets will help you extract greater value and more revenue out of the data you currently have.
Your relationship with your data can be a lot like a love affair. Think about it. At first you’re head over heels. Then, suddenly, there’s a distance. Information that used to flow freely is withheld. Simple questions go unanswered. Before, the world seemed so certain. Now it’s all confusion. You just don’t know where you stand. It’s time to admit: your data doesn’t love you anymore.