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How to make change management happen in the most effective way

Many things can put your business at risk, including changes to your organisation, people or technology. The current pandemic has put many businesses under unprecedented pressure, and some even teetering on the brink of survival. Crises like this quickly turn change...

Future-ready part 2: Diversity – an essential ingredient for a future-ready organisation

In his seminal 1937 essay, “The nature of the firm,” the economist and eventual Nobel laureate Ronald Coase argued that corporations exist to avoid the transaction costs of the free market. Yet with transaction costs plummeting (spurred by rising connectivity)...

Future-ready part 1: What does a future-ready business look like in the new normal?

The pressure to change had been building for years. Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, senior executives routinely worried that their organisations were too slow, too siloed, too bogged down in complicated matrix structures, too bureaucratic. What many leaders feared,...

Organisation Design: Restructuring or Reshuffling to enable Strategy

Customer expectations are not just changing; they are exceeding the ability of a business to deliver on time. They are looking for alternatives, with more emphasis on experience and convenience. To keep up, companies are evolving their offering to meet the...

How to fill the gap between Strategy and Execution

Organisations are great at setting their strategy and identifying their goals, but they fall short when it comes to their operating model review and redesign, the key component that enables the strategy and drives the achievement of goals. Operating models consist of...

Culture PART 2: The role of leaders in a culture shift

In the previous article in this series we examined the effect of COVID-19 on an organisation’s culture. Now, we turn the focus onto the role of leadership and technology in leveraging culture. When an organisation decides to change its culture – be it planned or...

Culture PART 1: Did COVID-19 signal the end for hierarchical organisations?

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, human capital is defined as: “the knowledge, skills, competencies and other attributes embodied in individuals or groups of individuals acquired during their life and used to produce goods,...

Meet MAC’s Executives: Karina Jardim, Senior Executive

“Exceptionally talented consultant” “An absolute pleasure to work with” “Driven by a desire to see people grow” If you know Karina Jardim, you know that these phrases used to describe Karina ring undoubtedly true. She is a name that is valued to every MACer, whether...

Thriving in the Age of Digital Adoption: Embracing the Workforce Ecosystem (part 2)

In the first part of this series, we looked at how the fears of technological innovation are resulting in an unproductive resistance toward modernisation, even as it gains extraordinary pace in 2021. We also delved into the importance of a growth mindset in allowing...

Thriving in the Age of Digital Adoption: Overcoming the Fear of AI (part 1)

“What if artificial intelligence takes over my job? What if I become redundant?” Every one of us has experienced technology encroaching on our lives, more and more so with each year that passes. It appears that technological innovation is a certainty that is only...



Mac Consulting

Leveraging Data to develop a competitive advantage

Leveraging Data to develop a competitive advantage

Not a lot of people have heard of the term ‘dark data’ before; Gartner defines it as the information assets organisations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes (for example, analytics, business relationships and direct monetising). Despite its name, it is nothing nefarious.

Harnessing this dark data – which is already there – can be used to gain a competitive advantage in the industry, which could be financial, could drive more organisational value, or something intangible, such as leveraging the data to drive employee wellbeing. An organisation has numerous sources of collecting dark data – sales data, logistics data, manufacturing data, human resource data, etc.

An exciting new service offering at MAC, aptly titled Predictive Human Capital Optimisation, leverages dark data to deliver competitive advancement for organisations. MAC’s approach intelligently leverages data and technology to develop predictive and prescriptive solutions that enables Human Capital departments to be more proactive in their approach, as opposed to the typical reactive engagement approach. We partner with organisations by tapping into their dark data, intelligently identifying the gaps between the organisation’s strategic objectives, and the workforces’ wants and needs. Leveraging this data intelligently enables the business to improve employee productivity, reduce staff churn and reduces training costs.

For a recent example, we worked with a large manufacturer which had a thousand-strong sales force frequenting specific retailers and outlets daily. Their existing tracking process was for the sales members to report back on where they had been and what they had sold, however, nobody quantified or double checked this information. We started to leverage this dark data; we tracked the vehicle loggers, found weather patterns in rural areas and overlayed this data over the sales reports. We quickly started to notice that there were times where 20% of the workforce reported to be at a specific store when they didn’t leave their house that day.

We used easily accessible data to drive a competitive advantage, including getting the sales force out to the rural areas before rain was forecast to avoid objectionable driving conditions. The workforce was optimised, sales grew and staff who were conning the company out of money were identified. A lack of efficiencies resulting in less desirable business outcomes and financial implications were identified simply by using data which already existed, but wasn’t used.

As the old adage goes, “you don’t know what you don’t know”, and by inference you cannot leverage what you do not know. The reason we have developed this service offering is to bridge the gap between what I call Desirable Business States – the specific target the organisation wants to achieve – and tying it back to employee wants and needs.

Technical expertise is obviously required to harness dark data. This would fall under the remit of the data team. When utilising a centralised analytics function (as discussed in the first article of this series), one of their initiatives should be to drive innovation in the company and that innovation involves exploring alternative data assets which the organisation can tap into. Start small with a dark data pilot project. Document all lessons learned. Test and use key performance indicators to assess results. Be prepared to iterate on the approach with testing and reassessment. As you learn more, gradually scale up dark data analytics efforts. Dark data is there, it just needs to be exploited.

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