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Minimising the gap between insights and actionable business value

Identify and close the gap between insights and actionable business value.

High performing organisations understand that what has happened can help them anticipate what will happen. Leaders and influencers at these companies know that the greater their analytics capabilities, the smaller the gap between insights and actionable business value will be. There are three key actions here to close the gaps.

  1. Use a cross-functional integrated analytics vision
  2. Prioritise analytics to create value
  3. Operationalise analytics throughout the enterprise

Let’s take a look at each of them.

1. Use a cross-functional integrated analytics vision

Cross-functional analytics enable organisations to balance competing objectives and priorities to increase the overall impact of the company. Creating an integrated analytics vision requires leadership to ask questions such as:

  • What’s the business need for the proposed analytics?
  • How does it enhance or complement what the organisation is already doing?
  • How does investing in analytics and insight-driven solutions lead to better outcomes?
  • Are there interdependencies across functions that provide the potential to leverage analytics more broadly?
  • What alternative data sources exist and what are their advantages and disadvantages?
  • Does the relevant data already exist in-house?

2. Prioritising analytics to create value

With so much data and so many analytics solutions available, it can be difficult to discover what could really generate value and grow market share. Investment in analytics should be prioritised based upon value creation potential—ie the biggest opportunities identified for value creation. More specifically, organisations should focus on analytics that derives the intended value while aligning to organisational strategy. By using consistent criteria, you will be able to prioritise market-relevant and analytically informed investments.

Leadership and clarity of authority/decision-making are essential to formalise accountability for the move from insights to action. Structured communication and clear accountability to use findings should be finalised.

3. Operationalising analytics throughout the enterprise

To make an integrated vision a reality, and so improve the financial performance, there should be building processes and enablers that operationalise analytics effectively. Most organisations do not have analytic capabilities embedded into the organisation, and the use of analytics is often not promoted, measured and rewarded consistently. This results in fragmented pockets of analytics initiatives that make it challenging to build cohesive capabilities across an organisation.

Executives should, therefore, aim to embed analytics throughout the enterprise and improve the timeliness of insights and accessibility to decision-makers (see diagram below). A proper governance structure, processes, metrics, and technology should be used in conjunction with analytics to convert insights into actionable business value.

Diagram showing the data inputs to data enablers, to data insights, to actions, to results. (Click to enlarge this image)

Source: Accenture [1]

To embed analytics in core and enabling processes, you need to engage with a range of business functions. The goal here is to provide employees with reliable resources and tools, which builds trust in creating a data-driven culture. The hiring process, for example, should be redefined to focus on analytics use and competency; new processes such as insights management should focus on building capabilities to interpret analyses to generate insights, and enhanced process management capabilities will be necessary to ensure that insights are acted upon.

Technology is often a key enabler to convert an organisation into a data-driven organisation. What has your experience been with new technologies and data management in the workplace?

Do you know of a good example of a successful data-driven business? What lessons can be learned from them?

Share your thoughts in the comments.


  1. Moving from Insights to Action [Document]. Accenture; 2012. Available from:
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Financial Analysis for Business Performance: Data-Driven Decision Making

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