From what I can see, many organisations still struggle with how to deliver real business value from their data and analytics, particularly completing the ‘last mile’ by turning insights into actions and understanding the outcomes.

In supply chain and logistics terminology, the last mile refers to the end of the value chain between the producer and the consumer. It’s where the value is delivered.

If you think about your online shopping the Last Mile is often what you experience as a customer. If it’s late or not right for some reason, then it doesn’t matter what feat of logistics happened in the background, you’re not happy.

It’s the same with the data supply chain.

These days people often talk about data being the new oil, but consumers, don’t buy crude oil. They buy refined products such as petrol that fuel their cars that get them from A to B or heating oil that keeps them warm.  They buy oil products for a purpose.

It’s the same with data products and data consumers.

If we take a look at the data supply chain and it’s transformation of raw data to information, insights, actions and outcomes, then the early stages of this supply chain are very much focussed on how you actually transform your data to be something that is potentially useful to your organisation.

In terms of a data strategy, these are often called defensive data strategies where the focus is on data governance and data management.

Don’t get me wrong. These are fundamentally important components but in my experience organisations typically approach these activities with a cost and control focussed mindset.

Again, they are completely necessary but they’re not sufficient for unlocking the value in the data.

So, organisations need to determine how they can take the data supply chain from being cost focused to value focused, from concentrating on data transformation processes and defensive data strategies to value creation processes and offensive data strategies.

This means deciding how to take the insights and intelligence, whether that be human or artificial, through a decisioning process that informs actions which will lead to valuable outcomes. Importantly organisations also need to have mechanisms in place to track and measure those outcomes.

For me, this process of informed decisioning and execution is the ‘last mile’ in data supply chain. It’s where the rubber hits the road.

This focus on the last mile largely defines those organisations that succeed with their data and analytics initiatives and are able to drive real value from their investments.

The focus on the last mile means a shift from figuring out what data you have and how to use it better, to determining what ‘good looks like’, what decisions need to be taken to get there and then what data is needed to support those decisions.

This is the shift from Business Intelligence to Decision Intelligence

More of that anon.