Think big. Act small. Scale fast.
Easy enough, right?
For Ocean Spray, a co-op that’s owned by over 700 family famers, it was able to do just that through marrying technology with cross-functional leadership. And while technology may have played a leading role in the strategy, achieving buy-in from stakeholders throughout the organization was the real key to success.
Ocean Spray CIO Jamie Head and Rick Davis, president of advisory firm The Davis Development Group, closed out Analytics Unite with a joint keynote, supported by what the pair cleverly titled: "Ocean's 5." Using Ocean Spray’s recent journey of evolving its critical cranberry-rating process through the use of neural technology, the five points illustrated how the cranberry giant differs from other industries, and even other consumer goods companies.
1. Design 2 Value
While many operations begin a new initiative with a lengthy administrative setup, Ocean Spray tries to remain ever-nimble through the use of cross-functional teams supported by light digital and analytics leadership around them. Not only does this reduce the amount of time lost to ongoing internal alignment, but it also encourages buy-in from stakeholders at all levels.
What’s more, the company maintains momentum by leveraging design thinking to create value, understand the best direction toward a solution, and extract where one wants to go.
2. Foster ‘Intrapraneurs’
Likewise, whereas the old SOP buys into the notion that all one must do is to build an infrastructure, hire a consultant, and flip a switch, and the org will become magically nimble, the reality is that change has to come from within the organization with leadership from a few key people.
“The cultural change will never come from a consultant or a strategic partners. It has to come from within,” said Davis.
3. Articulate business problems at depth and provide clarity
Davis didn’t mince words: “Most analytics [proof of concepts] fail. It’s a fact. They fail because the scope isn’t clear. Business problem isn’t really identified.”
To remain successful, a business must identify a problem they can actually design around, as well as identify realistic solutions that can be obtained within a given amount of time.
“What are the one or two things that you can do that has the potential to scale? …. What does your business really need? Where is the friction? And just double-down on that and do it so you can scale it up as it progresses,” said Head.
Just as crucial is communicating to the organization what you’re not going to do, lest you weaken your strategy by inundating core resources with splinter goals.
4. Clarity on Strategy & Direction
Yes, have a North Star, but keep it simple, noted Head. Most important is to have a data strategy and an analytic strategy that intertwine.
“Analytics is dependent on rich data, especially advanced analytics initiatives, so getting the foundation right in the data houses, is a critical enabler,” said Davis. Silos have no place in this cross-functional approach.
Furthermore, thinking big, acting small, and scaling fast means that one must first ensure their business problem being tackled is the right one.
“Make sure you have the right people to table that you really go through the steps and you design it appropriately. And then you spend time on the solution in a very aggressive approach so that you can ensure you create and deliver this minimally viable product that can be scaled very quickly to gain that credibility,” he added.
No, tech can’t fix everything, but it does help a lot, and it’s central to driving progress. As such, it’s important to ensure you have a clear policy with your vendors so you can extract the data you need, said Head.
And while integration may be an overused term today, Davis said, bringing data together across an enterprise, knocking down silos and generating insight is what will prime an organization over its competition.
“In order to generate speed, you need to reduce friction in your organization. … The more technology can help reduce friction, you’re going to get a competitive advantage. Otherwise you're always going to be on parity with using the next SaaS platform the other competitors are doing,” Head added.
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