Trucks at Work

Obtaining value from data; that’s the trick

That trucking continually seeks ways to become more efficient and make more money – or both simultaneously – from the reams of data being generated by its operations and vehicles should surprise no one by now (go here and here for some examples).

Yet extracting value from data remains a very tricky process – one that many businesses, apparently, are finding difficult to successfully achieve.

In fact, acording to Going Beyond the Data – Turning Data from Insights into Value, a new report from global consulting firm KPMG International, while 97% of organizations around the globe claim to use data and analytics (D&A) across their enterprise, only 19% are satisfied with the insights it provides.

In technical terms, I’d say that’s a big problem; especially when companies are spending tens of millions on so-called “D&A tools.”

"In the last two years we've seen a tremendous increase in D&A adoption and maturity across organizations; for example, more than 80% in our survey say they are making faster, more accurate decisions with D&A, and over 67% use D&A to reduce risk," noted Christian Rast, KPMG’s global head of D&A.

"Yet, we also know that business leaders face some critical challenges in realizing the full value of their data insights in the areas of revenue growth, serving customers and overall competitive advantage," he added.

While it's evident that businesses are becoming more adept at evaluating data to gain actionable insights, Rast said, it's the “transformation” from insights to value that is proving to be the greatest challenge for a wide range of businesses.

[As an aside, check out how this football coach used D&A to completely overhaul his team’s game strategy and extract more “value” in terms of winning more games.]

By the by, KPMG polled 830 senior business executives across more than 15 countries for this survey between August 2014 and January this year, following up on their responses with one-on-one interviews back in May.

One of the report’s biggest findings, according to KPMG, is that there’s a “growing gap” between how businesses currently use D&A and their ability to apply it to untapped areas of what the firm calls “rich opportunity.”

Here are some stats to mull over:

  • Some 75% of respondents use D&A mainly in the areas of research and development (R&D), supply chain, human resources and finance, with 47% of respondents confirming that improving productivity is the primary driver of their D&A strategies;
  • Yet less than 25% say they currently use D&A to identify new revenue streams;
  • Only 31% have used D&A to drive individualized marketing;
  • Only 16% use D&A to predict future trends;
  • While 92% said they use D&A for sales and marketing purposes and 81% have improved their understanding of customers, only 41% created more tailored offers to prospective customers based on D&A;
  • Some 97% of those polled said they already use D&A to manage risk, yet 58% still have difficulties evaluating data quality and reliability;
  • Obtaining “sufficient” data skills remains a common challenge, with only 14% reporting they have all the talent and capabilities they need to fully leverage D&A.

"For organizations to successfully turn their D&A insights into value, businesses need to understand that insights do not come from data alone," stressed Anthony Coops, one of KPMG’s data & analytics executives and a partner with KPMG in Australia.

"The ability to apply advanced analytics that can map the data to the critical business drivers and issues calls for stronger alignment between the business and the analytics process,” he added. “Those that are able to break down internal silos and bring together the best of their data, people and technologies together from across the enterprise will reap the greatest benefits from their D&A applications."

"Generating long-term value from data requires that organizations continue to move towards … an enterprise-wide D&A strategy that embeds D&A solutions and tools in every part of the organization,” KPMG’s Rast pointed out.

“Making D&A integral across the enterprise is where the real value can be achieved – when it can be effectively used to address all priority business issues and drivers that are key to optimally managing risk, cost and growth," he noted.

Now, that’s easier said than done for motor carriers in no small part due to the sluggish growth of truck freight rates even as operating costs – especially the sticker prices for new equipment – continues to rise.

Then again, solving the ever-growing number of challenges complicating the task of moving cargoes from point A to point B is something this industry is very good at.

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