Advanced Analytics and AI Strategy Unites 5 Lines of Business in Single Vision for the Customer Experience

AIM Consulting

Case Study: Data and Analytics

SITUATION & BUSINESS CHALLENGE

A multinational mechanical and industrial engineering conglomerate with annual sales exceeding $30 billion needed to update and redefine its sales and marketing analytics vision after several previous unsuccessful attempts.

The company, with five major divisions each offering 30–40 products, had invested large sums of money in 2008 and 2012 for analytics roadmap projects led by major consulting firms with little success. The unsuccessful efforts bred lost opportunities, including one where the company missed an entire customer segment because of lack of visibility into the marketing analytics and data accessibility. The consulting firms did not deliver enough vision to convince the company that a large investment in analytics was worth the risk.

But as its global peers began to leverage digital technology advancements in analytics, data science and artificial intelligence (AI), the conglomerate realized the competitive need and opportunity to embrace the data and analytics revolution as a function of its sales and marketing strategy.

To turn past disappointment into success would require a comprehensive new way of viewing the company’s business operations. Because the company’s operations were spread across five divisions, it evolved into a federated IT structure with each division developing its own data and analytics strategy and implementation patterns.

There were few common core architecture components across the five divisions. Each LOB had its own approach to sales and marketing, leveraging

different applications including Salesforce, Eloqua, Webtrends, and many more, and vastly different and complex ways of structuring data. Because of this variance, data resided in silos across the LOBs and was difficult to compare and consolidate. This led to very inefficient operational practices.

With new vision and new insights, lost opportunities can turn into big wins. To get on the right track in analytics, the company needed a trusted advisor to deliver and help lead this vision, and found this expertise in AIM Consulting’s Data and Analytics practice.

SOLUTION

AIM Consulting sat down with sales and marketing executives and managers across all five company divisions as well as its enterprise IT architecture organization to assess the current state of analytics in the company and produce a long-term vision with analytics at the center. AIM provided a vision to unite all the moving parts across the different LOBs into a single efficient analytics unit.

Assembling insightful information on analytics maturity levels and pain points from dozens of interviews, AIM delivered an operational plan and assessment, organization model, comprehensive technical roadmap, and general roadmap and value proposition to build sales and marketing analytics assets across the company’s divisions. AIM sought guidance from the enterprise architecture team on patterns, topologies and the core tools it wished to leverage in the future, to help form the foundation for the vision for each of the five main LOBs.

Threading through all the deliverables was a three-pronged focus:

  1. Technology: Enabling the vision by establishing common frameworks and toolsets.
  2. People: Hiring, aligning and training the right resources.
  3. Process and Operational Initiatives: Establishing the essential processes to fulfill each stage of the roadmap.

The initial output was a comprehensive 5-year plan addressing analytics, data science, AI and related technologies. AIM then delivered more aggressive and tactically focused 1- and 3-year roadmaps so the company could achieve smaller wins and fuel real momentum toward the 5-year plan. These shorter roadmaps prioritized the top five elements that would develop more immediate maturity in analytics and enable vision and direction over the long-term.

A key focus of the 3-year roadmap was the development of a data repository to unite sales and marketing data from source applications across all five LOBs to vastly increase the ease and efficiency of company-wide reporting. This effort will help the company focus its analytics and AI initiatives in the next three years around the company’s high-growth potential products.

AIM recommended that an enterprise-level Chief Analytics Officer role be implemented to execute the roadmap. Additionally, AIM leveraged input from departments with peripheral effects on the five main LOBs, like supply chain and finance, to ensure their inclusion in the growth plan.

ROI was factored into the roadmaps in several ways, including increased brand recognition, sales efficiency that drives operational efficiency, and new market growth.

RESULTS

The company is starting to build out the foundation and mature its analytics, data science and AI capabilities according to the short-term and long-term roadmaps, uniting sales and marketing in the five LOBs with the enterprise architecture team in a single vision. With acute focus on leveraging analytics for high-growth potential products, the roadmaps will further help the company to align its business strategy to maximize ROI.

Some elements of the roadmap have produced immediate value, including the production of sales and marketing reports spanning all five LOBs. AIM recommended implementing Microsoft Power BI as a stopgap measure for report production while the comprehensive analytics framework is set in place. To add further value, Power BI will continue to be leveraged throughout the five-year roadmap.

AIM Consulting delivered value that larger consulting firms failed to provide: the role of trusted advisor. While numerous major consulting firms worked on the 2008 and 2012 roadmap projects that provided little long-term value, AIM delivered the entire roadmap with a leaner, more agile team and provided far more value at a greatly reduced cost.

analytics strategy and roadmap

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Whether you need help with technology strategy and implementation, an in-flight project in need of additional resources, or individual contributors to bridge critical gaps in your teams, AIM is here to help.

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