Mar 032013
 
how are we using data in our business

Last week this blog discussed whether telecommuting was dead in light of Marissa Mayer’s banning of the practice at Yahoo.

While I don’t think telecommuting is dead, Marissa Mayer has a big problem figuring out exactly who is doing what at the company and abolishing remote working is one short term way of addressing the issue.

If Business Insider is to be believed, Yahoo!’s absent staff problem is bad.

After spending months frustrated at how empty Yahoo parking lots were, Mayer consulted Yahoo’s VPN logs to see if remote employees were checking in enough.

Mayer discovered they were not — and her decision was made.

Business Insider’s contention is that Mayer makes her decisions based on data analysis. At Google she drove designers mad by insisting on reviewing user reactions to different layouts and deciding based on the most popular results.
If this is true, then Marissa Mayer is the prototype of tomorrow’s top executives – the leaders in business by the end of this decade will be the ones who manage data well and can sift what matters out of the information deluge.
For all of us this is going to be a challenge with the probably the biggest task of all being able to identify which signals are worth paying attention to and which should be ignored.
Of course, all this assumes the data is good quality in the first place.
An assumption we’ve all made when talking about Big Data is that it’s about marketing – we made the same assumption about social media.
While Big Data is a good marketing tool, it’s just as useful in areas like manufacturing, logistics, credit evaluations and human resources. The latter is what Yahoo!’s staff are finding out.
In age of Big Data it may not pay to a slacker, but it’s going to be handy if you want to know what’s going on your business.

  One Response to “Using big data to find the cupboard is bare”

  1. Agree Paul. People get a bit excited about IT industry buzz words but there’s plenty of simple steps that can be taken in a business to measure all sorts of basic core functions with a view to making a business measure what’s important.

    In a business I consult to we stuck all the outbound telephone call data (durations, day and time of calls basically) into a database, which reveled that despite the business essentially functioning as a B2B telephone support organisation, the number of hours staff actually spent on the phone per client over a year was far less than what was considered necessary to provide high levels of service.

    It also revealed some patterns about optimal times to make outbound calls after we noted that only 47% of calls the business made resulted in a successful call (which we measured as being over 45 seconds long).

    Cross checking the phone call data with our CRM encounter notes revealed that the staff are diligent at logging calls, which was a positive finding.

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