Skip main navigation

Helios Bikes and data-led decision-making

Watch this interview with a fictional bike company that is beginning their data journey, and learn some of the key benefits of being data-led.

To help you understand what implementing data analytics means, we’re going to follow a fictional bike company, Helios Bikes, on their data analytics journey. We’ll be checking in on them as they overcome both technical and adaptive challenges and make strategic changes in how their organization uses data. In the above video we meet Caroline Watts, COO of Helios Bikes, who explains how they’re preparing to go through a business transformation using data analytics.

Key takeaways

From what we’ve seen of the organization in the video, what are some key takeaways? Let’s pick out the catalysts for why they want in becoming data-driven:

  • They’re not getting the right insights, and those they are producing aren’t done quickly enough
  • They’re losing money
  • They’re losing market share
  • They’re unable to innovate as quickly as their competitors
  • Their time to delivery is increasing
  • They know they have supply chain issues but they don’t know where to start as they are not data-driven
  • They acknowledge the need to start integrating data analytics into their organization

Becoming data-led

Now it’s time to take a closer look at the benefits of data analytics for organizations, business leaders and individuals.

Before we go any further, let’s take a moment to talk about why we’re becoming data-led. We’ll look at the importance of having a business-led data strategy and we’ll discuss the adaptive and technical challenges organizations can face.

As mentioned earlier, organizations are needing to adapt faster to market and global changes. They need to be proactive and they need to be able to use the enormous amounts of data that are produced so that they can make quicker, better informed strategic and operational decisions. In order to do that, organizations need to set up processes, systems and workflows that transform their data.

This first stage in the transformation journey to becoming a data-led organization needs preparation, an investment in time and resources, a change of mindset, and commitment. We’ll look at some of the challenges associated with this phase and take you through the set up processes.

These steps will allow an organization to streamline and automate processes, providing the basis to becoming data-led.

This is the foundation for powering data analytics and the route to making proactive decisions.

Becoming data-led will allow you to:

  • Be proactive rather than reactive in decision-making
  • Identify immediate and future opportunities for operational improvements
  • Foster collaboration between departments
  • Democratize decision-making
  • Provide innovation, R&D and product/service improvements
  • Enable a customer-focused strategy
  • Monitor the industry and competitor landscapes
  • Provide insight and direction for marketing and communication
  • Take advantage of external data sources in order to make wider business decisions
  • Model predictive, forward thinking outcomes in order to minimize risk and be ahead of the competition
  • Improve the ability to make informed decisions
  • Limit bias in decision-making

Now we’ll take you through the challenges and benefits of the first stage of the journey. There are lots of benefits to setting up data analytics within a business. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Removing silos between departments allows separate data sources to be brought together, creating more coherent and insightful reports
  • This allows almost instant insight into the ”What happened?” question, which allows us to work out the next question: ”Why did it happen?” Asking “why” allows us to make proactive operational decisions
  • Automating these systems not only reduces the time spent updating spreadsheets, renaming files, and compiling reports. It also reduces the possibility of human error
  • Frees up time for employees to use their uniquely human capabilities rather than performing repetitive tasks
  • Increasing accuracy through minimizing human error and limiting human centered bias

It’s important to understand the reasons why data analytics is used and how it can benefit an organization. Keep in mind that these benefits will vary between stakeholders, types of organizations, and their needs. We’ll get into that shortly.

Also, these benefits will vary with time, because like everything else, descriptive analytics has changed over the years. While the same principles remain (i.e., gathering and summarizing data in order to answer the question “What happened?’), descriptive analytics reports are becoming more powerful through the introduction of data analytics. Descriptive analytics are closer to real time and have the ability to be automated, which allows organizations to gain access to their data faster and in more organized, helpful ways.

We can see there are many good reasons to use data analytics, but it’s important to point out that data analytics is not the answer to everything. It can’t improve every aspect of your business. We can never get rid of uncertainty and there are some areas where there are too many permutations to consider, or they require human reasoning, empathy, experience or intervention to sort out. Don’t let that deter you. Understanding what can be assisted by data analytics and what can’t is part of the learning journey.

This article is from the free online

A Beginner’s Guide to Data Analytics

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now