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Addressing Barriers to Success – Process (Moneyball anyone?)

By Richard Sharpe | 10/29/2015 | 6:00 AM | Categories: Web/Tech

Have you ever heard the following question when trying to solve a business issue? What is the issue?  We have always solved this problem this way!”  We hear this type of response from many companies when talking about building laser focused performance strategies using analytics and big data. 

The good news is that we also have found companies that have leaders that are Champions for Change.   However, their biggest frustration is the resistance they encounter to a new idea or new way to solve a problem. 

 “That would be a huge change in the way we do business”

“We’ve never done it that way”

“We aren't ready for this”

The same was true in the movie Moneyball portraying Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics (played by Brad Pitt).  Billy didn’t have the payroll to compete with the big city teams like New York and Boston.  What he and every team had was an abundance of data on players in the major and minor leagues. Beane challenged his staff to fill playing positions in a new way.  Beane focused on player selection based on a specific type of performance analytics called Sabermetrics.  Billy found value in players that other teams did not see. Do you remember the scene?



The Oakland A’s used analytics in new ways to identify young players or out of favor players who are more productive offensively and defensively.  They defied conventional wisdom and built their Team using a new form of analysis and the data that was available.  They go on to win their division.  The poorest team in baseball with the smallest budget wins.  That is a truly remarkable story.

The story doesn’t end there.  As the A’s continue to win, players start to be recognized as stars.  The A’s also begin to see performance issues with some of their players.  So they make trades with other teams who evaluate players the same way they always did.  For the emerging stars, the A’s get new talent and give up players they couldn't afford to pay anyway. For the slipping players, they avoid the down years and rebuild the team.  So the A’s end up in the hunt, winning, year after year.

What was different?  Billy Beane decided he would change the decision making process of selecting players with the use of a new form of performance analytics BEFORE anyone else.  He met incredible resistance because no one had ever done it that way before.  He championed its use in the organization even though most of management wanted to do business the old way.

All companies are hoping to get meaningful value from their analytics and big data initiatives.  Unfortunately, many lack the energy to get the full value by breaking away from established decision making processes. 

Integrated Business Planning (IBP) is the practice of embracing descriptive, diagnostics, predictive and prescriptive analytics with big data to enhance or change specific business processes in order to outperform the competition. 

Do you want to be the leader in your company and industry, even in the face of fierce resistance?  Are you willing to be the champion early in the game?  In many organizations this is exactly what it will take.  Just like Billy Beane, after others catch on, the use of actionable analytics will be the norm and the competitive advantage of moving first will be lost.

The smart companies will lead from the forefront using an IBP platform tailored to their specific business needs! 

One caveat.  Just because you adopt the use of IBP analytics and big data does NOT mean Brad Pitt will play you in a movie.  But then, maybe he would.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

All the best,



Other posts in this series:

"Addressing Barriers to Success—People"
"Addressing Barriers to Success—Technology"



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The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Richard Sharpe

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 Velocity as 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.


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