As the era of cheap capital ends, growth-at-any-cost is no longer a blueprint for success. Instead, business leaders everywhere are shifting their focus to efficient growth strategies.
Analytics automation is at the forefront of this strategic shift. Time and again, automation has helped businesses not just survive tough times but turn risk into opportunity. And today, as digitization pulls more and more organizations into a data-driven world, automated decision-making based on data has become the critical muscle that companies of all sizes must develop.
Yet, there is very little knowledge of what analytics automation is and how best to develop core strengths around it. This two-part series looks at the impact of various automation technologies on business growth, why analytics automation is the next frontier, and what organizations should do to bring automation to analytics.
Automation = Efficient Growth
Our story begins in 1908 when the Ford Motor Company invented first-of-a-kind automated car assembly lines, bringing the cost of producing cars from $950 to $300. That revolutionary technology made it possible to make cars both affordable and mass-produced.
This was the first large-scale use of automation technology to reduce business costs and grow the market simultaneously – i.e. efficient growth.
Fast forward to the 2000s and automation technologies took on various aspects of business process automation.
As the internet took off and brands began selling to national and global customers, managing sales activities at scale meant the difference between success and failure. Businesses invested billions of dollars in CRM and sales force automation technologies to automatically track and manage contacts, leads and opportunities.
Salesforce led this shift with its cloud-native CRM. Suddenly, CRM automation was no longer just for the world’s biggest enterprises that could afford expensive and custom solutions that their IT teams had to manage. Now, companies big and small could benefit. And benefit they did with as much as a 30% lift in revenue – yet another example of automation enabling efficient growth.
Shortly after, data entry automation burst onto the scene. Companies like UiPath, Automation Anywhere and Blueprism specialize in automating data entry processes. These new platforms enabled businesses to automate invoice processing, employee onboarding, financial reporting, and many other similar manual data entry processes and have driven increases of much as 60% in employee productivity and operational efficiency.
More recently, task automation software like Zapier, Monday.com, Asana and Trello have come to life and increased employee productivity by up to 80%. Document automation platforms like Coda, Miro and Airtable have accelerated teamwork, allowing teams to execute 20% faster.
No matter what industries or jobs it touches – from manufacturing and food to sales and marketing, process management, and document management – automation has been driving efficient growth across all.
Analysts Are at the Next Frontier of Automation
Automation technologies reach an inflection point when repetitive manual tasks limit business agility, efficiency and growth. Here are some of the telltale signs of the need for automation tech:
- Demands on your team far exceed your team’s capacity
- Your oversubscribed team bottlenecks other teams
- Adding more capacity to your team is not solving the problem
This is when businesses look for radical alternatives like automation.
Analytics has reached this inflection point. The demand for actionable insights is growing exponentially as digital transformation matures. Companies of all sizes have significantly invested in data infrastructure and teams in the last few years. Still, they cannot keep up with the data requests from business teams.
“While the volume of available data has grown exponentially in recent years, most companies are capturing only a fraction of the potential value in terms of revenue and profit gains,” according to McKinsey’s What’s now and next in analytics, AI, and automation report.
That’s because the last mile of analytics is still manual. Analysts are stuck manually pulling data from multiple systems and running analytics in spreadsheets or SQL. Our survey found that 6 out of 10 analyst teams spend up to 50% of their time on repetitive tasks. That means at least half of your expensive human capital is wasted on mundane and non-productive activities.
What could your business accomplish if your analytics team doesn't have to do that anymore? And instead, can spend their time generating new insights for your business? Imagine having your team 10x more productive, turning around data requests at lightning-fast speed and still being able to go home early! That is no longer a dream and is now possible with analytics automation technologies.
“By 2025, nearly all employees naturally and regularly leverage data to support their work. Rather than defaulting to solving problems by developing lengthy — sometimes multi-year — road maps, they’re empowered to ask how innovative data techniques could resolve challenges in hours, days or weeks,” says McKinsey’s The data-driven enterprise for 2025 report.
Are you ready to look at what it takes to automate analytics for your business? Well, stay tuned! In our next post, we will look at the core capabilities of analytics automation and how you can take advantage of it.