Developing a Strategic Roadmap and Analytics Center of Excellence

The Challenge

A producer of consumer packaged goods (CPG) had established itself as a leader in the household products sector, including food, non-food, and specialty products. Margins in the CPG industry are thin, and this urgency made them want to build an advanced analytics capability to maintain a competitive edge. Successful transition to a data-driven organization demands a technical and business process change, as well as a strategic plan to see it through.

The client had no centralized analytics capability or long-term data strategy. The executive team hired Elder Research to assess its current analytics needs, develop a strategic roadmap, and build an analytics center of excellence.

The Solution

This organization had a strong culture but lacked an analytics process and governance to deliver value across business functions. After a half-day, on-site strategy session with the organization’s executives, Elder Research made recommendations in four key 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 Analytics Steering Committee (ASC) and an Analytics Center of Excellence (ACE). The ASC’s role is to prioritize projects, provide guidance on business questions and ROI metrics, connect business leaders when needed, review ROI and model performance, and cascade communication throughout the organization. Based on their culture and current operation, a hybrid ACE model (borrowing from both centralized and decentralized systems) was also recommended.  As a group, ACE develops standards regarding coding, tools, version control, and quality control, and it is their 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 ASC and the ACE leaders.

After evaluating their architecture, Elder Research made recommendations on:

  • How to stock their data lake for long term efficiency and performance for the business units
  • How version control and configuration management should be implemented, 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

Elder Research facilitated an on-site, strategic assessment of current processes, culture, technology, and capabilities that impact the successful application of analytics and data science to achieve business objectives. Using insight from the strategy assessment and our industry experience, we 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 an Analytics Steering Committee and a self-sufficient Analytics Center of Excellence. 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 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 ASC and ACE teams to prioritize, approve, and complete more than 30 projects. The initial 15 projects are estimated to yield a savings of $2.2 million and 5,000 person-hours per year when implemented. These proof of concept projects were targeted at single brands and savings could increase dramatically if the solutions are implemented across multiple product lines. Elder Research is providing data engineering support to ready their data lake and data pipeline to enable deployment of the projects.