Lack of Product Mindset is a show-stopper to the Insights-First culture

By Sushant Ajmani posted 05-25-2020 02:19 PM

Being a Product Manager, I have to interact with both business users and analytics professionals across different business functions every week. Recently, I had a meeting with a Head of Supply Chain Operations at a large CPG brand. During our conversation, he expressed his growing frustrations around over 30+ custom reports and dashboards he receives in his mailbox every week. Now, the major challenge for him to decide which email demands his immediate attention and which email he can simply ignore. At the end of the conversation, he talked about his ideal Monday morning, where he wants to see just one email in his mailbox. This email should talk about the point anomalies against his demand and supply measures (inventory fill rate, loads/unloads, service level, safety stock, order cycle time and inventory to sales ratio), potential causal factors behind these anomalies, high-accuracy predictions for the coming week, and prescriptive recommendations for the ground-level operations team. This entire piece of information should be articulated in a very concise and human-friendly manner with absolutely no statistical jargon and sexy-looking charts.

Lately, we are seeing these kinds of expectations growing among the senior executives who have a shorter attention time-span, spending a significant % of their time on the field, and living an extremely hyper-connected lifestyle with lots of stress. For them, the insights they are consuming should be Relevant (based on their role and responsibilities), Contextual (based on the month/quarter ending adjustments, demographics, promotional season, incumbent demand and supply shock situation, and most importantly, any significantly competitive dynamics which might impact their upcoming weekly/monthly or quarterly targets), and Actionable (based on the KPIs he/she is accountable for, a predictable storyline, clarity on the prescriptive actions, speed to insights and opportunity to do what-if analysis)

To meet the above business expectations, what the organizations require is a Product Mindset for their Data, This Product Mindset would push the Insights & Analytics teams to think beyond the reports and dashboards when it comes to tackling the unmet business needs, and focus on building those smarter point solutions (Apps, Stories, Pinboards, and Bots), which can be embedded or integrated with the collaborative platforms like SLACK or TEAMS. This would not only enable these business users to do collaborative storytelling with their peers in realtime but also create an opportunity to collect the active and passive feedback from the business users to re-train the ML-based models behind the scene.

As a Product Manager in the Augmented Analytics domain, the biggest challenge is to scale-up the power of insights across the organization that not only improves the Action TAT for the decision-makers but also creates opportunities for continuous optimization for every business function. Based on our experience working with some of the large CPG, FMCG, Retail, and Technology clients, there are four factors which contribute to the scaling-up the power of insights:

  1. How well your insights engine integrated with the organization data lake, and adhere to the incumbent data policies and compliances.
  2. How smartly you have integrated the various business functions as a part of your closed-feedback loop.
  3. How diligently your consulting team is evangelizing the business users, continually identifying the unmet business needs, and focusing on the adoption measures.
  4. Last but not least, how smartly you are building your insights solution packages, which not only focus on the current needs but also preempt future needs.

In the end, if you are planning to create an insights-first culture in your organization that rewards data-driven decision making, you need to bring the Product Mindset for your organizational data, and think beyond the reports and dashboards.


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