Baselining Your Realized Value and Learning From Other Companies

Richard Sharpe Analytics & Big Data


Gartner estimates that companies will spend $18.3 Billion on analytics and big data initiatives in 2017, an increase of 7% over 2016.  That number is expected to grow to $22.8 Billion by 2020 as executives are becoming more cognizant of the importance of gaining sustainable value from big data analytical capabilities.  Earlier this year Dun & Bradstreet and Forbes Insights explored this question through a survey of over 300 executives across multiple industries and regions.  Here is a link to a recently released report sponsored by Dun & Bradstreet summarizing the results that is well worth the read.

How much has your company spent (internally and externally) over the last 18 months on analytics and big data initiatives?  What are your Executive Team’s expectations of ROI?  Have you come anywhere near meeting these expectations?

As I mentioned in my last posting, we hear two very different responses when talking with companies about their success in mastering growing volumes of supply chain data and gaining sustainable value from business user analytics. The first is a public ally declared answer of success and progress while the second one, once the door is shut, typically offers various degrees of frustration and minimal progress. To understand the real progress of other companies’ big data analytical efforts, you need a non-speculative way to measure your progress versus your peer companies.  You need the ability to have a better understanding of peer companies’ challenges, the benefits they have realized, and their focus for future analytics and big data investments.

I am pleased to announce that the global survey conducted by  a team comprised of CSCMP’s Supply Chain QuarterlyArizona State UniversityColorado State UniversityCompetitive Insights LLC, and lharrington group LLC has successfully captured the information required to establish this supply chain industry baseline for big data analytics.  The outcome of this survey supports the identification of  true challenges and benefits that companies have experienced as well as what they expect to gain from future big data analytics investments.  These results serve as a starting point to measure and track each year the progress that companies have made in realizing the value from big data analytics. This year’s survey results will  be presented at the annual Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Conference and published in various articles in both the CSCMP’s Supply Chain Quarterly and DC Velocity.

So when the door is shut and you are having internal discussions on your successes and frustrations in deriving value from your big data analytics investments, you now have a way to move from speculation to fact.

Where are other companies breaking through the challenges ot rapidly accessing the right data, in solving quality and timing issues and their ability to continually gain meaningful analytical answers to prioritized business problems?

What are their next set of prioritized areas of focus?

One interesting early discovery from the survey results is that some technologies used for big data analytics do offer limited benefits but fall short in providing the true overall business value that can be gained from successful analytical efforts.

Naturally, this surveying effort will only get stronger as we learn from you what is beneficial and what is needed to get more insightful information. If you did not participate this year, please take the time to complete next year’s survey.  It will only take a few minutes but the impact can be significant. Participants of this year’s survey represent over 20 industries around the world.

This year’s results are clearly statistically sound.  Lets make next years participation a blowout!

All the best,


Richard Sharpe

Richard Sharpe is CEO of Competitive Insights, LLC (CI), a founding officer of the American Logistics Aid Network(ALAN) and designated by DC Velocityas a Rainmaker in the industry. For the last 25 years, Richard has been passionate about driving business value through the adoption of process and technology innovations. His current focus is to support CI’s mission to enable companies to gain maximum value through specific, precise and actionable insights across the organization for smarter growth. CI delivers Enterprise Profit Insights (EPI) solutions that enable cross-functional users to increase and protect profitability. Prior to his current role, Richard was President of CAPS Logistics, the forerunner of supply chain optimization. Richard is a frequent speaker at national conferences and leading academic institutions. His current focus is to challenge executives to improve their company’s competitive position by turning enterprise wide data from a liability to an asset through the use of applied business analytics.