2014 – The year of David

12 January 2014

Dan Hawker

Dan Hawker

Former Head of Tobacco, Wholesale & Retail

According to Tech Market View, “aggregating, assimilating, sharing and acting on expanding, rapidly changing and sometimes transient data is the biggest challenge facing organisations”. However, many large organisations have processes that are very good at managing predictable, large scale processes, but are poor at one important, simple thing – pace. By pace, I mean thinking and acting quickly, especially when multiple stakeholders are concerned, and if the situation is ambiguous, or each situation is different from the last.

So what organisations are good at delivering things at pace? Smaller organisations. Why is this? I believe this is largely because they have less to lose and more to gain. There’s a great book by Daniel Kahneman called "Thinking Fast, and Slow” which touches on this subject in more detail. . But whatever the reason, smaller organisations are generally better at delivering things at pace.

This is why I would build on the Tech Market Views’ ‘Predictions 2014: Enterprise Software & App Services’, and call 2014 “The year of David”, after the story of David and Goliath. However, I don’t think 2014 needs to be about David beating Goliath, but David working with - and within - Goliath, to deliver success at pace.

Take the concept of an insights capability within an organisation. For many years, CPG companies have approached consumer insights by outsourcing the delivery of consumer insights to agencies. These agencies would provide external data on shopping habits, and as an added service, they’d provide not just the data, but insights based on this data, to deliver ‘did you know’ statements. “Did you know that if you changed this promotional mix, you would achieve X increase in profit?” Or “did you know that your competitors are beating you in this category by using X innovation?” And so on.

So what is preventing large CPG companies from creating these insights themselves? And what’s preventing them from having an insights capability that, not only looks at consumer insights, but also applies the same capabilities to insights across the business as a whole -production processes, procurement opportunities, sales behaviours, people incentives and more?

If the business intelligence capability that most CPG companies have invested large sums of money in can be leveraged, and given the scope to think and act more quickly, this ‘did you know’ in-house insights capability could easily be a formidable force.

I believe that for many of these “Goliaths", this subtle, powerful shift is within their grasp, and economically viable, if they find the right David to partner with. David organisations have built their business on delivering fast, focused, concrete outcomes with well-defined value. They have pace, and tangible outcomes in their DNA. Joining that DNA with the might of the CPG’s BI investment and capability could easily create an over-arching insights capability, delivering success at pace.

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