In pursuit of analytics ROI

Many consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies realise that analytics capabilities are required to compete effectively in today’s marketplace that is increasingly impacted by the economic and social shift toward digital. Yet very few...


Many consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies realise that analytics capabilities are required to compete effectively in today’s marketplace that is increasingly impacted by the economic and social shift toward digital. Yet very few companies have succeeded in capturing the business value they wanted or expected from their analytics investments. There is a tangible opportunity for CPG companies to use an enterprise-wide operating model to build a data-and insights-driven culture, make better and faster decisions, and improve business outcomes.

Accenture recently released a study on how CPG companies are using data and analytics to support their organisations’ decision-making processes. The findings revealed that while companies have pockets of localised analytics capabilities, less than half have ingrained analytics across their organisation or believe it to be a differentiating capability. What’s more, companies continue to struggle with fundamental issues related to analytics spanning data, methods and technology.

In our study, more than half - 54 percent - of CPG executives said their company has a fully defined analytics operating model. In contrast, just nine percent say their company has implemented an analytics operating model in its entirety and 15 percent say the plan has been only partially executed across the geographies in which they operate.

What emerged is a mismatch between how CPG executives perceive their companies' maturity in analytics and the actual state of their analytics efforts. Although 47 percent of the executives described their companies as either "analytical leaders" or having "ingrained analytics," the analytics teams of many of the companies represented in the survey remain focused on "pulling data" rather than using data to develop forward looking insights. Almost one-third (32 percent) of the respondents admitted that their analytics employees are focused on the management of big data. However, just nine percent said they have made predictive analytics a priority, and this is critical to generating information that can enhance longer-term decision making.

CPG companies need to put more of a focus on implementing an analytics operating model that puts analytics-driven insights at the heart of their decision-making process. Only then will they be able to realize true value from their analytics investments and achieve increased efficiency, speed, flexibility and profitability.

There is a clear opportunity for CPG companies to capture a better return on investment on their analytics efforts by establishing a strong backbone of analytics across the organization. However, a focus on technology, data and methods alone will not magically deliver the insights needed for a competitive edge. We believe that to achieve the desired business outcomes, an analytics operating model needs to meet three core requirements:

  • Infuse analytics into the decision-making process: In order to embed an “analytics first” philosophy into the organisation, business leaders need to identify the business problems, define the appropriate key performance indicators and use analytics in their decision-making processes.
  • Organise and govern analytics capabilities across the organisation: It is important to define an appropriate analytics organisation construct based on the maturity and needs of the business, and allocate resources efficiently. A critical element in this strategy is the ability to effectively manage supply and demand for analytics services across the business.
  • Source and deploy analytics talent: Finding the right analytics talent is hard and it is even harder to find analysts who have industry-specific experience. CPG companies would benefit from revising their talent management processes to reflect clear decisions about sourcing, developing, rewarding and nurturing analytics talent.

Being “data-driven” isn’t a buzz term anymore. It’s a tried and true recipe for businesses to achieve their goals in a digital economy, whether it’s maintaining their current level of success or flying past their competitors for more market share. For CPG companies looking to unlock the power of their data and turn it into an asset, an analytics package of technology, talent and strategy should be pursued as it will open the door to data-driven decisions, innovation, and ROI.

Posted by Julio Hernandez, managing director, Accenture Analytics and Bob Berkey, director, Consumer Goods & Services at Accenture

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