Developing a Strategic Roadmap and Analytics Center of Excellence

The Challenge

Many organizations today are investing tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars in digital transformation, data, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI). However, many of these very same organizations are still struggling to execute that investment in such as to drive, measure, and realize meaningful return on investment (ROI). One of Elder Research’s clients, a leading producer of consumer packaged goods (CPG), was in this position seeking to maintain a competitive edge by investing in and building out a multi-year advanced analytics capability. Successful transition to a data-driven organization demands a tremendous amount of people, process, and technology change, as well as a strategic plan to plan, execute, and oversee those changes and transformations over time.

Our client had no centralized analytics capability nor a long-term data strategy. Thus, data and analytics investments were haphazard and disjointed from other ongoing initiatives across the enterprise. The executive team hired Elder Research as a strategic partner to assess their current analytics needs, develop a strategic roadmap, and build an Analytics Center of Excellence.

The Solution

Our client had a strong culture, however lacked analytics process and governance to deliver value across business functions. After a half-day, on-site strategy session with client executives, Elder Research made recommendations in four key areas aligned to their four key program areas:

  1. Consumer Engagement and Marketing
  2. Trade Promotion and Pricing
  3. IT Infrastructure
  4. Corporate Governance and Change Management

Strategy Recommendations

Elder Research recommended the creation of two committees; an Enterprise Analytics Steering Committee (EASC) and a hybrid Analytics Center of Excellence (ACoE).

The EASC group was created to provide executive oversight and enablement to prioritize projects, provide guidance on business questions and ROI metrics, connect cross-functional business leaders when needed, review ROI and model performance, and cascade communication throughout the organization.

The ACoE group was created to develop enterprise standards regarding coding, tools, version control, and quality control. They also have the responsibility to recognize needs, understand challenges, develop a sound systematic analytics approach to problems, and contribute to developing and following the standards and guidance set forth by the EASC and the ACoE leaders.

The creation of these two governing groups created the context for enterprise oversight, communication, and collaboration needed to streamline delivery of analytics value to the organization more rapidly, consistently, and measurably.

Furthermore, after evaluating their architecture, Elder Research made recommendations on:

  • Data lake storage for long term efficiency and performance for the business units
    Version control and configuration management best practices, including focus on data pipeline, model management, and visualization/report management to meet the needs of decision-makers across the whole organization.
    Analytic approaches for consumer engagement, marketing, trade fund allocation, and pricing.

Results

Using insight and feedback from the strategy assessment as well as our industry experience, Elder Research leaders created a multi-year roadmap focused on the speed of data and analytics delivery and agility in the marketplace.

Our team guided the development of the EASC and ACoE. This established a foundational core analytics team capable of supporting the organization, while still frequently connecting and working with analysts and other technical staff (such as data scientists and data engineers) in each business unit to provide a cohesive approach to analytics across the corporation.

In the first year alone, Elder Research worked with the EASC and ACoE teams to prioritize, approve, and complete more than 30 proofs of concept. By the end of the third year, 23 unique projects were completed across Marketing, Sales, Operations, R&D, Finance, and Enterprise. Through mitigation, resource management, and PNL impact, our efforts project a five-year NPV in the tens of millions of dollars. These projects were targeted at single brands, and future savings have the potential to increase dramatically if the solutions are implemented across multiple product lines.