Ten Tactics for Optimizing Operations

  • Managers and employees are most effective if they have good information. That’s the simple truth. The hard part is steering the IT infrastructure in a direction that will better support business operations. The idea of “performance management” is helpful in regrouping business intelligence (BI) tools, data warehousing, ERP, and emerging technologies to meet the challenges. Communication and collaboration are essential, so don’t limit your vision to traditional data and process boundaries. Performance management can be controversial too, so be prepared to confront many organizational as well as technical obstacles.
  • Create an enterprise plan of record. If cross-functional alignment around overall strategic objectives is difficult, it may be because planners and forecasters don’t share information effectively.
  • Build a true analytic architecture. As more operational managers use sophisticated analysis tools, you might require more than what data warehouses designed for a few power users can deliver.
  • Adopt scorecards and metrics to measure and manage performance. Tools and methods can help you evaluate work-force performance more fully and realistically than you can with conventional, bluntinstrument measures.
  • How good is your data? You can’t go far without high-quality data. Address problems at the source or plan to cleanse data later in the process.
  • How broad is the user base for customer intelligence? Match customer data integration (CDI) and analytics to the business areas that need it.
  • Does business success depend on customer loyalty and better return on customer? If so, predictive analytics may help you gain a competitive edge.
  • Adopt a performance management approach. The notion of an understand, optimize, and align cycle may be helpful in developing a methodology that fits your organization—and seeing which areas most need technology upgrades.
  • Retool BI and data warehousing to improve operational performance. Through dashboards, let your front-line managers, employees, and other stakeholders benefit from the information richness available to strategic planners.
  • Take an enterprise approach to planning and forecasting. Spreadsheet hell could be a big reason your organization isn’t as agile and intelligent as it should be. An enterprise approach will get your teams in sync.

Dave Stodder is Editor in Chief of Intelligent Enterprise. Excerpted from “Enterprise Planning: Get a Single View of the Future,” available at www.intelligentperformance.com.