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Companies and organizations are organic entities and are subject to the Laws of Physics. The constant change of their shape from growth, re-structuring, launching new products and responding to market dynamics is what gives them organic quality.

The rate of change that drives re-invention is increasing, requiring the speed at which implementing anything new must also increase. This includes launching of new products, installing new systems, re-building processes, adding new competencies to key staff members, integrating new acquisitions or by shedding old product lines or parts of an organization.

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Espresso is coffee brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. As a result of the pressurized brewing process, the flavors and chemicals in a cup of espresso are very concentrated.

Analytics is quantified performance data generated by processing data through a simultaneous application of statistics, computer programming and operations research. As a result of the data management process, the data and findings in an analytics report are focused and value added.

The connection between espresso and analytics was made while sipping on the former doing the later (due diligence to determine the value of a target acquisition).

Do you think performance scorecards and dashboards resemble a coffee menu at your café? The coffee house menu caters to a wide range of tastes, performance scorecards and dashboards cater to the varied information needs of the executives and managers.

There is an Espresso Hierarchy. First there is the shot of espresso: direct, understandable and verifiable. At the next level are the other coffee offerings that use a shot(s) of espresso: caffè latte, cappuccino, caffè macchiato, caffè mocha, flat white and caffè Americano. Then there are the derivatives driven by types of milk, seasonal versions and flavor additives.

What should an analytics hierarchy look like?

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A large school district vehicle maintenance operation has an excellent performance dashboard with relevant and timely metrics that monitors and provides feedback to both the operation as a whole and the mechanics. The dashboard had metrics for bus accidents by type, repair and inspection times, inventory, number of error free repairs, maintenance cost per mile, maintenance cost by type and age of vehicle, fleet miles per gallon……But there was one metric that was unusual. It was unique and when understood it, it was visionary.

Amongst the many monthly metrics was this one: The number of days the maintenance shop had without a “non-scheduled repair”.

With a fleet approaching 200 vehicles, the average age of the fleet of about 8 year and drivers conducting a pre and post vehicle inspection daily, the questions were:
• “How is the number of days without an unscheduled repair meaningful?”
• What did this actually measure?

The answers were enlightening.

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Sitting with the Head of Human Resources for a global manufacturing company, I enquired what the company spent on human capital including compensation, benefits and training. The response was, “….a little over $1 billion dollars.”
I then asked if the company would be interested in sending every employee a one question survey. The response was, “What’s the question?”
The question was. “On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being optimal, to what extent does the company utilize your skills, talents and competencies?”
There was some hesitation before I received a response, “I would guess that the average score of the survey would be about 6.5.”
I made the observation the company was paying over $1 billion dollars for human capital and with a score of 6.5, it was leaving $350 million worth of human capital value on the table.
The response, “Nobody can get a 10.”
The counter, “Is 7.5 possible? Every point is worth about $100m.”
The response, “How would you get from 6.5 to 7.5?”
The answer, “Ask a one question follow-up survey with the question being: How could the company better utilize you skills, talents and competencies?. Then management could use the results to design a strategy and roadmap to increase the company’s human capital utilization.”

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