Search Icon
blue laptop

Five ways advisory firms create valuable outcomes from data analytics

By  Andrew McConnell  on  15 Dec 2015

Data Services

You are probably familiar with the business-to-business sales model. Well, this traditional engagement model is fast become obsolete because the cloud has made it so easy for organizations to cost effectively consume vital technology. 

In their book, B4B: How Technology and Big Data Are Reinventing the Customer-Supplier Relationship, Wood, Hewlin and Lah write that the “product B2B model was designed to sell things to customers. Whereas, the new B4B model will be about delivering outcomes for customers.”

In my last article, I wrote how advisory firms need to change and adapt to survive in this new era of consumption economics.  Delivering outcomes is far less tangible than delivering projects where success is measured by delivering on time and within budget. From my experience, consultants do a great job of selling tangible deliverables but many struggle with more intangible business outcomes because, as the authors wrote above, they are historically used to providing a transactional product

What firms must  do nowadays is develop a compelling proposition that includes strong, value-added services, wrapped around a new product offering which everyone is talking about but struggling to grasp – data analytics. 

The most successful advisory firms are those that are embracing data. Not only are they using data and analytics themselves to inform decisions on go to market strategy, determine client satisfaction and much more, they are creating new data-led services that help their clients do amazing things.

With business leaders analyzing a mere 12% of the data stored in their organizations, consultants have an opportunity to deliver unprecedented measurable business value that will result in big revenue gains for themselves and their clients. They just need the right tools to do the job.

I have provided below some real examples of how data analytics can help you generate new revenue streams.  The beautiful thing is, with the right partner, you don’t have to invest a penny in developing a data analytics product; you just need to focus on what you do well, which is delivering must-have services expected by your clients. 

Data management. As often as not, companies have no view of all their data. This lack of visibility is costing them dearly, unable to generate revenue and/or deliver necessary bottom-line savings. By offering a data management service, you can help your clients create business value.  How?  You start by helping your client identify all the necessary data sources they have (centralized, local, individual or corporate, structured or unstructured), get access to it and define its relevance.

The next step is to understand the data required to deliver the outcome the customer is expecting to create. This could be internal customer data for growth, spend data for cost control, and supply chain for risk management, employee data for innovation.

This is also where your subject matter expertise comes to play by helping your clients identify and deliver value.  For example, how might you use equipment maintenance reports to help with supplier rationalization?

Data categorization. Until the data is correctly classified, it can’t be properly analysed; and very often the real opportunity in the data is found in the low value tail which is likely to be the most difficult to classify. Take spend data as an example; 80% of spend could be with 20% of suppliers but when you’re dealing with spend in the $billions range, the 20% tail could hide tens of millions of dollars of potential savings.

Thisi may not be sexy but partners categorizing up to 99% offer huge potential value to clients. Are you offering this data service?

Procurement Insight. In-depth spend analysis is notoriously difficult but ultimately very rewarding. Part of this difficulty can be addressed by the first and second points above.  However, there is a great deal more to it than extracting, cleansing and enriching data (all the things we are great at). Once a rich and trustworthy source of classified data exists, a competent source-to-pay practice can identify the value in it.

Typically, our partners are finding savings of between 4% and 8% of the total value of the spend data for their customers, using RAPid. How many of your clients could benefit from a spend analysis?  The savings could fuel other business transformation projects!

Benchmarking. Offering analytics services from the same platform to multiple customers in the same market allows you to do something unique for them; benchmark their performance. How do your clients compare with others in the same market? What are the top performers doing better than others and why? Using data, you are now in a position to truly transform your clients’ organizations with new insight.

Operational improvement. The preceding examples guide your clients towards the nirvana of business transformation. You need the right data; you need the right views into that data; you have to use your expertise to deliver the right insights and support them with quantifiable outcomes; and you need to know how they measure-up against the top performers. Business transformation services based on these factors have a very high market value. It’s also how you move up the decision tree, straight into the board.

All these services are predicated on having the right analytics tools in place which is where a partnership with Rosslyn Analytics is beneficial.

In my next blog post, I will write about the monetary value of data and how it can be used by you and your clients to create new business opportunities.