With all the talk about analytics in business, you might think that the goal of collecting data is analysis – to describe what happened and explain why it happened.
Elite organizations realize the goal is not simply to analyze, but to anticipate and act. Meaning, to project what will happen and influence what they want to happen.
Consider the makers of Kleenex, Kimberly-Clark. They use a web-based, cold-and-flu prediction tool (called ‘Achoo’) that uses data from multiple sources – including vaccination rates and even bird migration patterns – to predict location-specific outbreaks of cold and flu. In order words, they analyze to anticipate.
Then they act. They direct their marketing and promotional efforts – such as coupons and samples – to those locations about to be affected. That drives sales and keeps Kleenex ahead of the competition.
Analyze, anticipate, and act. The purpose of analytics is to drive outcomes.