Case Study: Data-Driven Advisory

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The purpose of this case study is to give an overview of the typical approaches C-SUITE DATA provides to its clients. Its approaches and practices are investment oriented allowing C-SUITE DATA to provide flexible options for various sizes of clients, initiatives, and budgets.

 

ABOUT C-SUITE DATA

C-SUITE DATA makes your plans work using our industry expertise from the boardroom down to brass tacks execution. We are a team of grey hair and no hair that does your heavy lifting. As advisors and hands-on consultants, we reinforce your leadership, infrastructure, and human capital to increase your returns, reduce your budgets, and protect your profitability. To make your plans work we focus on business performance by making the very complex straightforward and the very big manageable through our leadership, expertise, and hands-on approaches.

 

CLIENT OVERVIEW

The hype and promises of Big Data and data-driven organizations motivated a client to invest $400 million over three years into the human capital, infrastructure, and technologies needed to support their flag-ship business improvement strategy. After 1 ½ years, the client was unsatisfied with their investment. The financial and productivity outcomes achieved were only a fraction of what was expected. Because this strategy was Phase 1 of the client’s much bigger $3 billion modernization strategy, the client was very concerned with how the delays and increasing costs with Phase 1 would impact the later phases.

 

INFORMATION COLLECTION

Through interviews, surveys, and post-mortems C-SUITE DATA collected information about its client’s core; core customers, core cultural elements, core strategies, core processes, and core people. The following symptoms were uncovered:

  • Customer attrition rose from 21% to 24% over the last year.
  • Revenue growth remained flat over the last year, which was a growth year. The rate to attract and convert customers was lower than direct competition.
  • There were no significant gains in employee productivity.
  • Employee attrition rose from 5% to 13% over the last year. Morale plummeted.

 

PROBLEM AND NEEDS ANALYSIS

C-SUITE DATA analyzed the information they collected using their PICTURE and SHELL methodologies. Through these methodologies they identified the following problems:

  • Lack of common vision and language causing disconnections from the business model and between business functions. Vagueness in scope and language led to scope management and change management issues.
  • Employee preference of manual paper process over current technology significantly reduced the rate to attract and convert customers.
  • Current work structure and training across the company did not successfully incorporate data-driven business
    management and its supporting models, planning, and analysis.
  • Employees related the perceived failure of Phase 1, a business improvement strategy, to failures of huge ERP and business intelligence initiatives the company has done over the last 20 years.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

C-SUITE DATA presented their findings to their client along with how to address their problems in a financially feasible way. The options C-SUITE DATA proposed included:

Option 1: Restructure Phase 1 to leverage only the previous infrastructure.
Option 2: Continuously improve Phase 1 with a series of small projects staffed by small teams.
Option 3: Restructure and re-scope Phase 1 to achieve desired outcomes and milestones.
Option 4: Change/acquire new leadership for Phase 1 to raise morale and instill needed cultural traits.

Discussing with the client it was not politically viable to do Option 1. Based on the discussions regarding politics, available manpower, and long term financial feasibility C-SUITE DATA advised its client that Options 2, 3 and 4 should be done in combination. To get Phase 1 back on track, C-SUITE DATA proposed a one year project with a compressed schedule.

 

ONE YEAR PROJECT OVERVIEW

Quarter 1: Rebalance investments in readiness, priorities, realignment, people, subprojects, data, infrastructure, scoping, and closing gaps. On board the new leader for Phase 1.
Quarter 2: Reduce gaps in regulations, policies, business rules, models, data assets, AI, and data clean-up. Design and train on “one subproject pattern” that all subprojects adhere to.
Quarter 3: Execute data subprojects in parallel with dedicated resources and strong oversight.
Quarter 4: Ready organizational leaders for data-driven business management. Leaders include those in Business Development, Finance, Operations, HR, IT, and Research.

The client allocated an overall project budget of $20 million. The sponsors were the chief operations officer and the chief marketing officer. C-SUITE DATA supported, drove, and provided strong oversight and consultants for the project and subprojects. C-SUITE DATA’s leaders included executive advisors, program/project managers, analysts, data scientists, and data programmers. C-SUITE DATA also provided executive coaching on the practices and pit falls of data-driven business management to the leaders in Business Development, Finance, Operations, HR, IT, and Research.

 

BUSINESS OUTCOMES

After completion of the project the client was satisfied with the outcomes and milestones. Both sponsors were pleased with the Phase 1 course correction. In addition, the client credited the later business outcomes from what project achieved. These business outcomes were observed one year after the project’s completion.

  • Customer attrition dropped from 24% to 20%.
  • Revenue rose 17%.
  • Productivity gains of 23% for sales staff and 13% for operations staff.
  • Employee attrition dropped from 13% to 8%. Morale was high for Phase 1.
  • Total investment needed to complete Phase 1 was reduced by 19%.

 

CONCLUSION

The client was very satisfied with C-SUITE DATA’s impact and results. Their feedback included that C-SUITE DATA demonstrated strong acumen for change and clearly specified what needed to happen so the client would meet its desired outcomes. The client also felt each member of the C-SUITE DATA team was knowledgeable, direct, and tenacious.