As discussed in the 7 Big Data Trends for 2017, organisations need to apply big data analytics to make sense of their organisation and their environment. The impact big data analytics will have on your organisation depends on which type of business analytics is applied within the business. There are four types of analytics, ranging from descriptive and diagnostic analytics to the more advanced predictive and prescriptive analytics. These are different stages of understanding your business and the more advanced the analytics is, the more complex it will be, but also the more value it can create for your organisation.
Organisations that apply business analytics tools will be better able to understand their organisation as well as their environment. It will improve the ability to make the right decisions at the right moment and as such seize the right opportunities to create competitive advantage. Descriptive and diagnostic analytics enable an organisation to use a variety of structured data sources to achieve insights in what has happened, it is commonly referred to as business intelligence. Predictive analytics uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to discover patterns and understand relationships in various unstructured and structured data sources to develop predictions for the future. Finally, prescriptive analytics changes an organisation at multiple levels and is the final stage in understanding a business. It not only offers predictions on what to do, but also provides recommendations on how to act upon forecasts to take advantage of those predictions.
Change in Power Balance
Traditionally, decisions are made by those managers and leaders within the organisation that have the most experience and have access to the right information. Important information is provided solely to those decision-makers and as such, they are more knowledgeable than the rest of the organisation. However, the application of big data analytics changes this and once a data-driven, information-centric culture has been implemented, data and insights from data become widely accessible, in real-time, across the organisation.
Organisations that make data and insights from data widely available, experience a shift in the power structure within the business; decision-making power moves from those leaders with the most experience to anyone who has access to data and analytic tools to derive insights from it. As such, in a data-driven business, the real decision-makers within an organisation are not senior managers or C-level executives, but are those employees that face the customer or who are directly involved in creating the product or service. Some leaders might be reluctant to accept this shift in power, but only when all leaders accept the power shift, can the organisation truly benefit from big data analytics.
Collaborative Network Organisations
In the rapidly changing environments that organisations operate today, offering the right employees the right data to make decisions has become a pre-requisite. Such decentralised decision makers will use the available insights and combine it with local knowledge, creativity and contacts. As long as there is a shared vision across the business and an atmosphere of transparency, those empowered employees are more likely to collaborate with other stakeholders, including customers and even competitors, to create the best outcome. As a result, organisations that stimulate empowerment and collaboration are less prone to be surprised by changes in their environment and more likely to remain competitive.
Those organisations that could benefit the most of such empowerment and collaboration are network organisations. These are organisations that consist of multiple, geographically spread, business units where decision-makers coordinate, collaborate and control internal and external relationships, using insights from big data. The advantage network organisations have over more traditional organisations, is that they have antennas across time and space to better understand how their environment is changing and they have empowered employees to act upon it if needed.
Collaborative and empowered employees are increasingly becoming important for organisations. A collaborative culture enables employees to share insights and best practices across the organisation and use insights from big data to make the best decision at the right moment. Such collaborate network organisations will have a competitive advantage over more traditional, top-down and controlled, organisations.
The use of big data analytics within a business changes the power balance within that organisation. Empowered employees are more likely to collaborate with different stakeholders to create the best result for the business, because they feel more involved and more responsible for the success of the organisation. As such, those organisations that want to remain competitive in a constantly changing an increasingly data-driven world should foster employee collaboration and promote the usage of (advanced) analytics across the business and especially network organisations are in the right position to do so.