The business world today is moving at a much faster pace, and rapid changes in competition, demand, technology etc. have made it more critical than ever for consumer brands to be able to respond to changes quickly. But according to a recent McKinsey Survey, organizational agility the ability to quickly react to change and move toward value-creating and value-protecting opportunities is elusive for most.

According to Accenture research of consumer goods makers, 35% of executives consider operational agility as one of their most challenging areas to improve.

With these examples its clear the battle for the billions of consumers on the planet is tougher and while organizations understand the important of becoming leaner and quicker they are not yet there. In the McKinsey survey, when asked where their companies apply agile ways of working, respondents most often pointed to areas that are customer focused such as innovation, customer experience, sales and servicing, and product management.

The common them to better customer focused operations is accurate data and insights on the consumers. There is so much data out there today so there is no shortage of it but mining it and making it available easily to a wide range of people who need it within the business is still challenging for most. And this is what we will cover here – how you can take steps to do just that, deliver actionable data to a wide range of business users to become more agile with better, data driven decisions.

 

Step 1 to agility – Think different!

With 90% of the world’s data created in the last 2 years the world data is growing at a scary pace…there are so many ways now for consumers to share data and information that organizations everywhere need to analyze and deal with textual data. With so much data – methods and technologies that were created over 2 years ago are not setup to handle the new world. You need to start thinking differently and walk away from last year’s tools you used like surveys or human experts-based solutions.

 

Step 2 to agility – Automation

With so much information available online and in house, human based solutions, even AI driven systems that rely on IT and experts to setup, are too slow. IT and data scientists will just not be able to respond quickly enough to every business data request while in parallel they still need to fine tune and configure a data mining system to respond to competitor and market changes. The key is automation. Find the automated data mining systems that can harvest the insights without delays. Fortunately, they exist now.

 

Step 3 to agility – Personalize

If you figured out a way to access insights and mine data, you need to keep in mind that generic, one size fits all data is not usable by all. Specific roles need specific data. A Product Manager needs granular data on the product that he is selling, not on the category or the brand. This is why you need data that anyone can slice and dice for their own use. Democratization of data is key to distribution of decision making.

 

Step 4 to agility – Simplify

Similar to the previous step #3, if you want to encourage a wide use of data across roles in the organization the solution of choice needs to be one that everyone can use. It needs to be intuitive, and autonomous. If the solution is complex or if it requires IT or Insights or any other centralized group to change or support or configure. You want to empower the masses to take action and they can’t take it if they don’t have control

 

Step 5 to ace your launch – Spread the joy (Distribute)

So if you’ve reached here hopefully you have data that is easily accessible. However in large consumer brands this data will likely be used in meetings or to be sent to others in the organization. Whatever you can do to simplify the distribution part will highly reward you. Setting up one click reports or circulating scheduled reports over email are some examples of how you can make things easier for the team. Obviously export to PowerPoint or Excel can’t hurt either.

 

Conclusion

The battle for the modern consumer is already taking place, and agile organizations are the ones that will survive. A key aspect to becoming truly agile is to empower your peers to make accurate, data driven decisions, on a wide scale of roles in the organization.

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