Data Analytics Allows P&G to Turn on a Dime

Filippo Passerini provides an overview of the steps that P&G took to improve its analytic capabilities and harness the power of big data in real-time.

We recognized the value in having access to the right data, at the right time, and with actionable insights. We also realized the power of visualizing that real-time data in an immersive environment. I believe in a complex world where there is an incredible amount of information, visualization helps distill what really matters, and the results have proven the value of our investment.

Having this data is a powerful start, but bringing the right people together to make the actual decisions can be tricky in a company as large as P&G. How have you accomplished this?

We refer to this as the "power of and." We need strong analytic models and an immersive environment and a business analysis providing unbiased expertise. We believe the synergy between these three components is, in many ways, a breakthrough, and has led to a quantum leap in value creation.

We created analytical models that help leaders quickly identify opportunities and to determine where proactive interventions may be needed. The visualization of the data in business processes allows leaders to view the data more easily, to process the information faster, and to quickly turn insights into actions.

In order to enhance the experience of viewing the information, we developed what we refer to as Business Spheres, a truly immersive environment that physically surrounds business leaders with models. We also integrated video-conferencing capabilities to eliminate the need for travel and enable face-to-face interactions.

An important role that we have woven into this process is the business analyst, who is an unbiased expert who facilitates the discussion and helps to guide the business team's focus. They have the responsibility of bringing context to the data and identifying opportunities that the business should be addressing. The business analyst also helps the businesses connect the dots and reapply lessons learned across categories, regions and business units.

What is different here is that all of this data is coming into the context of the business discussion. It is not fragmented by geography or management level. Also, importantly, it is coming in real-time to help us make better, faster decisions. It has been pretty transformational to the way we do business.

To be perfectly candid, culture change is never easy. There are some people who were used to seeing information displayed a certain way, and by digitizing our data and having it available in such a powerful way, it was different. Another initial challenge was the availability of the same information to everyone at the same time—or “information democracy." But it did not take long for leaders to understand the value of the Business Sphere and adopt to the new technology and to different ways of doing business.

Can you provide some examples of the kind of data that is assembled?

It is important to recognize that data only has worth when organizations can use it to take meaningful action that creates value. It's not about the data. It's about how we're able to use the data to create value by being more innovative and more productive every single day.

This article was originally published on 05-03-2013
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