sage 50 construction improvesPredicting with confidence how a business scenario may turn out no longer requires a crystal ball. Smarter organisations are recognising the value of predictive analytics solutions for assessing trends and anticipating any necessary business changes in order to drive through strategy.

Dean Dickinson, Managing Director of Advanced Business Solutions (Public Sector & Enterprise Division), offers his five top tips for those organisations thinking about embarking on a predictive analytics project…

1. Assess strategic objectives – It is important that predictive analytics aligns with your strategic objectives so list carefully the business issues that need to be resolved, such as what is holding the business back or how systems need to be integrated, and the opportunities to be explored.

2. Scope the project fully to maximise value – Predictive analytics is not purely for crunching numbers – although this is a common misconception. It can be used in any sector and across any department where there is a need for predicting outcomes. For example, the NHS is using the solution to model disease prevalence and spread. The software is also equally at home in a logistics setting to predict how long the average tyre on a lorry will last.

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3. Make the most of all your data – Businesses start accruing data from their first day of trading and, by mining and modelling this information, can enjoy significant commercial gain. The key is to look at how all data across the business can be harnessed and fed into an analytics solution. By taking this bold rather than scatter-gun approach, the business will be well prepared for all future challenges and opportunities.

4. Choose your supplier carefully – Issue a formal invitation to tender in which you are clear about your requirements and expectations. Next, invite four or five suppliers to demonstrate their products and shortlist two or three. Ask to be put in touch with one or more customers who can provide testimonials before making your final choice. Be wary if your shortlisted suppliers can’t put you in touch with happy customers.

5. Decide what success looks like – It is all too easy to conclude that an IT project has been a success just because a solution is effectively up and running. It is important to know what success looks like from the business perspective and not be afraid to permit evolution as business’s needs change.

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Dean Dickinson said: “Predictive analytics is a valuable tool for organisations if the project is approached carefully and the insight gained is used to capture strategic advantage.

“The software promotes growth in the private sector by predicting customers’ wants and needs, and can detect threats early, therefore helping to prevent them turning into real issues. Predictive analytics can also add considerable value to public sector organisations by plotting demand for services and guiding front-line decisions.

“It is anticipated that predictive analytics will become increasingly popular as more and more organisations recognise its worth. The software will become a key tool in driving down costs, improving efficiencies and effectively navigating both opportunities and challenges. Those organisations that fail to embrace this solution are effectively operating blind and making themselves especially vulnerable to economic and industry forces.”