Analytics made simple

5th November, 2019 – Venkatesh K Iyengar

Today, we see, a huge excitement across organizations, students, professionals on Data, Information, Big Data, Data Mining, Data Lakes, Data analytics, applications like AI, Intelligent systems & well the list goes on. Companies and in various forums, we get to hear about the importance of data and how it has transformed organization. During my years of working with corporates , these terms always intrigued me. As I worked along trying to decipher this mystery, realised analytics is something, we have been applying all of our lives. The terminologies and jargons only made us worry about them .

Let me tell you a story, its pretty much an in thing nowadays. Perhaps this could be a common experience for all of us. Imagine you aren’t well, it goes without saying you would probably visit the most trusted professional, your family doctor.   The family doctor asks you the apt question “What is happening?”  You will then describe your illness. Say, I am running a temperature, feeling tired, headache & body pain doctor.  This is an information which one needs to know, if we relate it to our business. What is happening – are we doing good, are we doing bad, are the numbers the up or down. Is my cost in control, is my pricing in line with market, does competition offering a better value than mine. All I need to know is, what is the current state my business. It is just that we have these answers in our mind. A structured information can be far more enriching for us. In today’s world, we can make have this information  through a weekly, monthly, quarterly departmental reports, MIS or presentations. This data in an report form becomes a structured information for us to understand what is happening to our business. In analytics is referred as “Descriptive Analysis“. We describe the state of our business through various reports and data points across all functions in the organization.

Moving back to our story, the obvious question our doctor would quickly come up is “Why is it happening?” This is quite logical , the doctor is now trying to diagnose and understand the reasons and causes of your illness. You will retort, “doctor, been to a hill station weather was extreme, caught up with a bad cold, cough & throat infection. In line with our business too once we know what is the business state, it is critical to know why is our business like this. Why are my sales down? Why my costs shooting up? What is the competition doing which I am not aware of ? We need a set of reports, analysis and numbers to know why are we are either growing or de-growing. This needs a structured approach of collecting data. Collecting information on each activity or process undertaken so as to arrive at the answer – “Why? “ . This is the second step in Data Analytics referred as “Diagnostic Analysis” Going back to our story, our doctor with patient hearing , utilising his experience and wisdom predicts, “you have a viral fever, take 5-10 days of complete rest, don’t go out or travel, no outside food, you should be fine in a weeks’ time, just have my medicines”. In business too, when we we continue to do what we are doing, in terms of our sales planning, price offers, focus on existing market focus, existing people, without any major changes, we end up with a predictive revenue, profit, topline by the end of the financial year. This is referred as Predictive analysis. This analysis by and large is common across organizations as we are always curious to know what will happen in current scheme of things. It is also commonly known as “Business Forecasting ” In the current scheme of things, the actions taken are same & routine, we could forecast our business in terms of topline revenue, bottom line profitability, market share, overall business performance. The doctors prediction puts you in a relief, you are at ease but, suddenly realise and share “No doctor, I need to go for a wedding this sunday and have an important meet, cant be at home, taking rest, work will suffer, I need to be up and running in next two days”. You seek a faster recovery, “doctor, can’t I be fit in say couple of days?, is it mandatory to take a leave for 5 days?”. We all are ambitious in our other areas too aside to personal health, the zeal to excel, driving that 10X growth. The doctor understands this and now he prescribes you an additional medicine, an antibiotic and may be some vitamin supplements. The doctor prescribes these to get you up and running faster and eventually reduces the time of your recovery. Similarly, once you identify the gaps of the business through predictive analysis, you would look to fix the gaps quickly and surge ahead Any business objective is to grow faster and beat competition. By analyzing the data points of your organization, by creating MIS reports, forecasting the you seeks help from experts, consultants who, prescribe certain process improvements, price corrections, revised market estimation and innovative costing measures to improve the business both at topline or bottom line. This process is known as Prescriptive Analysis. Across the businesses globally, all organizations large or small, use these standard basic principles of analytics. One we understand these simple processes, using these in small or large data bases asp per your organization is pretty simple. In case of smaller organizations, you may use an excel application to create reports and some simpler tools to analyse. In large data sets, you would have an SQL or any other large database management systems to do the same. In the next will share some ideas on what is the difference between ERP systems and Analytics systems, Till then, keep analyzing , have a great health, Cheers.
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Venkatesh K Iyengar, Founder Tathwamsi Inc

has 18 plus years of corporate experience across Sales & Marketing function, i.e Strategic Planning, Pricing, Sales Operations, Product Management, and Process Management. He has worked for various multinationals like Coca-Cola, Airtel,Vodafone & Samsung. A postgraduate in Marketing from Mumbai University, he holds a certificate in Analytics from IIM Calcutta & SP Jain Institute of Management & Research. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Leadership Science from Mumbai University. He is been a guest speaker for numerous workshops and has delivered lectures on “Decoding Data for Business Growth” . He is also an empanelled faculty for Marketing Analytics for various Business Schools in Mumbai. He lives in Mumbai, is an analyst by mind and a poet by heart. You can reach him on venkatesh@tathwamasi.com