How does data analytics affect resource management?

How does data analytics affect resource management?

Back in 2004, Hurricane Frances was tearing across the Caribbean towards Florida’s Atlantic coast. How did Wal-Mart use predictive analytics to stock their stores so people would have what they’d want in the aftermath of the storm?

  • They sent extra diapers and bottles of clean water
  • They delivered a bumper number of beer crates and strawberry Pop-Tarts
  • They increased stocks of survival gear and sleeping bags

We’re not sure what it says about Floridians, but the answer is b. – beer and pop-tarts. The New York Times reports that Wal-Mart had analyzed trillions of bytes of customer shopping data in the weeks following Hurricane Charley, which had landed on the same coast just a few weeks earlier. The data showed that, rather than shopping for goods that would improve their chances of survival, people wanted to drink beer during the storm and eat pop-tarts the next day by a factor of 700% more than usual.

11 years on, the amount of Big Data now available for analysis has dwarfed what was available in 2004. As Eric Schmidt (Google Executive Chairman) told Techonomy back in 2010:

“from the dawn of civilization until 2003, humankind generated 5 Exabytes of data. Now we produce 5 Exabytes every 2 days … and the pace is accelerating”.

Big Data is changing business models in many different organizations, and 89% of business leaders believe Big Data will revolutionize business operations in the same way the Internet did before it.

The major advantage of all this data analysis is that it means we’re no longer dependent on pure intuition when making major choices. Do we hire ten new employees? How will it affect our budget? Do we have the resource capacity for this new project? Do we order pop-tarts or clean water? In the past, decision makers would have had to follow their instinct, what might have seemed most obvious. However, Big Data has changed the way we make decisions and approach business problems. Let’s see how this change in culture is impacting on Resource Management.

It's changing how we manage resource capacity

Resource management tools like Tempus Resource allow users to visualize in fine-grained detail how employees are allocated across projects. By representing resource allocation on a ‘heat map’, resource managers are able to quickly and powerfully understand just how well distributed their resources are. By using ‘heat’ to display resource allocation, it’s very easy to see if ten of your workers are currently only being used at 60% of their capacity – or alternatively if they’re being overworked.

Before the emergence of analytics tools like Tempus Resource that allowed you to explore these trends visually, resource managers would have to make decisions about employee availability based purely on ‘intuition’. If it looked like those employees were busy, you would simply assume they were working at full capacity. However, by using data analytics, it becomes much easier to achieve a true understanding of how over- or under-used your resources actually are.

Data analytics helps us save on costs

Employees are often the largest single cost to an organization. So, in order to maintain business agility and competitiveness, businesses need to ensure employees are working to full capacity. If it is necessary to hire new colleagues, companies need to ensure they employ the right number and don’t go on a spending splurge when there isn’t enough work for those people to be productive.

In the past, this would also have depended on intuition. Resource managers would need to look at their budget, estimate what they could afford and how many resources would be needed for a particular project. Once again, Tempus Resource has changed the game here. By letting users build interactive models, it allows you to explore where resources are needed most and discover the best and most cost efficient method of deploying new hires.

Data analytics helps us develop real contingency plans

What happens if we get ten new clients? Do we have the resources to complete projects on time? How about if two of our major customers disappear, will we still be able to pay salaries? What if project five is delayed for two months? Will our employees have enough to do?

Organizations should always be prepared for change and draw up contingency plans in case unexpected issues arise. However, in the past, companies would purely depend on intuition and guess work when drawing these plans up. This is no longer the case with Tempus Resource.

Tempus Resource provides state of the art modelling tools to help you carry out ‘hypotheses’ and tests on your existing data. With its easy to use interface, you are able to rapidly explore a whole range of possible scenarios to ensure that you’ll always be prepared.

Data is changing the game for the better

Competitive and forward-thinking companies are increasingly looking to Big Data and analytics to understand their customers, their operations and their resources. Tempus Resource is well positioned to help resource managers gain insights and understanding their own data in order to make the best data-driven decisions. Intuition will always have a place in business, but as Wal-Mart’s Pop-Tarts show, data can tell us things we’d never have imagined.

Interested in using your company’s data to make the best decisions for resource allocation? Contact us today to learn more.

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