“Am I reading this situation correctly?” Given the persisting uncertainty, I believe we should repeatedly ask ourselves this question about the multitude of business challenges that we will each face through the coming year. Our assessments of situations do not need to be particularly accurate. They just need to be directionally right so that subsequent decisions, about things such as strategy, tactics, and investment levels, have a better-than-average chance of success. Making an assessment that is directionally wrong, such as misreading a rising market and leaving it wide open to competitors, can obviously cause problems. However, I would argue that a business is in even greater danger when its leaders use the prevailing uncertainty as an excuse for not making decisions. A rabbit that sits out in the highway dazed by the headlights is eventually going to be roadkill, but one that thinks there may be a gap in the traffic might live to see another day.
The challenge to extract value from data and make better decisions is one of the central premises of Deloitte’s recently published report, “Analytic Trends 2015; A below the surface look.” Analytics, they say, is, “moving squarely into the mainstream of business decision-making, becoming both the air that we breathe – and the ocean in which we swim.” There may be poetry in their overview, but once they discuss the individual trends, it is all hard-hitting stuff, exploring topics such as:
- How much of the data we encounter in business, particularly marketing data, is directionally accurate but often individually inaccurate.
- Why higher education may not produce the type of data scientists and quantitative analysts that business needs.
- How machine intelligence and embedded technologies are beginning to augment the work of talented knowledge workers.
However, it is their one “Supertrend” that is perhaps most pertinent to Anaplanners.
Supertrend: Quadruple down on data security
There were numerous news stories about hacking and cyber-terrorism in 2014. And the growth of digital business, mobile, and real-time connectivity mean we will probably see more of the same in 2015. Consequently, both business and technology leaders are now anxious about data security and have set aside big budgets to fund improvements. As Deloitte points out, improving data security requires the convergence of innovation, analytics, digital connectivity, and technology —and integrating them in a seamless approach.
Delivering that across an on-premise platform consisting of myriad different legacy solutions from disparate vendors is never going to be easy, and will rapidly eat into the biggest budget. What’s more, when the money is spent and the last technology integrator has left the building, a business user somewhere will still be downloading data into a spreadsheet and compromising data security all over again. But, as our customers know, there is another way:
- Only select solutions that encompass the full gamut of business users’ needs so they do not constantly resort to offline spreadsheets.
- Ensure that selected solutions already have integrated enterprise-level access and security rights for all types of device.
When data security is the preeminent issue, it is the only way to go.