How to Become a Hero Using Modern Business Intelligence

Remember the last time you got ‘nutty excited’ before a movie release? Maybe it was to the point that your family was so sick of you talking about it while forcing them to watch the trailers on YouTube over and over that they avoided being in a room with you alone at home?

Oh wait… maybe that’s just me.

Maybe for you it was the epic Star Wars movies? From the first Star Wars release in May 1977 until the May 2018 release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, the franchise has grossed more than $8.9 billion dollars worldwide. No, that’s not a typo. Yes, that’s “billion” with a “B.”

Or maybe it’s the next one in Marvel’s Avengers franchise, Avengers: Infinity War, releasing April 27, 2018? The Avengers franchise (the first being Iron Man, released in 2008) has grossed almost $6 billion dollars. On the surface, the numbers are nothing short of astounding.

When you look deeper though, maybe you’ve wondered – as I have – why superhero and science-fiction flicks with intense ‘good versus evil’ themes are so wildly popular… not just in the U.S., but around the world.

The truth is, there’s something innate in all of us – either we listen to it or not – but it’s there: the drive to witness good triumphing over evil. Whether you love superhero movies or not, most of us want to be a hero at some point in our lives… either on the playground, at home or at work.

In my increasingly hard-to-contain excitement for the new Avengers movie, amidst my ongoing debates with other hardcore ‘superhero’ fans about whether or not all of the Avengers are indeed killed in this epic finale (as some Internet rumors would have it), I started realizing just how many parallels there are between these movie franchises and the world of information technology in most businesses today.

Sounds ridiculous, right? Well before you bail on me… hear me out, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

When you start dissecting how these multi-year, billion-dollar grossing film series are strategically constructed, I think you’ll quickly see the parallels. Let me elaborate more specifically.

Parallel #1: Finally See the True Big Picture.

Marvel is building a cinematic universe, looking at the big picture and storyline of how characters develop over time, between separate movies, and how they will relate and interact to fight common battles not only in the current film, but in future. Not only does this draw audiences in and almost guarantee the creation of a long-term loyal fan base, it creates enormous opportunity for a steady stream of profits.

Similarly, today’s most successful technology leaders (heroes!) are using business intelligence tools to glean trends from the data, to not only see micro-trends, but to see macro-trends. Seeing the big picture means you can pinpoint areas of the business where you can focus growth efforts and create a more cohesive, multi-year strategy that is intentionally designed to maximize profits.

Seeing the big picture also means you can identify problem areas that may be small enough now to go unnoticed in isolation, but that could easily snowball into multiple areas of the business and become a giant ‘monster villain’ (or a smaller villain ‘sidekick’) that eats away your margins and market share if ignored for too long.

Parallel #2: No More Information Silos. Period.

Remember your business courses in college and learning about a ‘‘cost center’ versus a ‘profit center?’ In case not, here’s a quick refresher, then we’ll get onto the superhero movie parallel.

Cost Center <—–> Profit Center
Functions to support profit center areas <—–> Functions to generate revenue and profit
Controls costs and reduces expenses <—–> Maximizes revenues and profits
Focused on specific business functions <—–> Looks for every area to contribute

In the events of the last Avengers film, Civil War, all of our heroes are indeed pitted against each other. Iron Man isn’t speaking with the Hulk or Captain America, and believes he has the best and only solution to defeat the looming threat of Thanos, reportedly staged to be their most powerful and evil enemy yet.

Such instability has created siloes of fragmentation in the collective power of the team, resulting in a team with a name, but with no clear, collective mission. That means the world is a far more vulnerable place than ever before, setting the stage for the epic villain battle to come.

Likewise, technology leaders have to shift their mindset from being cost center functions, focused on cost reduction and support, to breaking down walls between every area of the business and becoming a balanced bridge between cost control and revenue-generating strategy. They must become laser focused on strategy and revenue simultaneously.

Yes, it’s a big shift. Some will make the turn. Some will not.

The good news is that an advanced business intelligence tool can give you the ‘superhero power’ to do precisely that – move directly into the role of a strategist who uncovers ways to not only cut costs (check!), but generates ideas for maximizing profits and creating new revenue streams (check! check!).

For example, with some investigation and out-of-the-box thinking, you might find ways your firm can take advantage of the blockchain now – potentially giving you some strategic advantage in the market and putting you ahead of the curve.

So stop thinking in terms of ‘department to department’ or ‘business unit to business unit.’ Stop thinking in silos and start thinking in terms of a well-oiled team where all parts work together cohesively. Much like a team of superheroes, working together on a common mission, leveraging the strengths of each hero (aka: business area), and unapologetically exploiting the weaknesses of your evil nemesis (aka: your #1 competitor).

No more data or business siloes, ever. Period.

Parallel #3: Find and Secure the Right Skills in the Right Seats.

Every hero in the movies has a unique power, making them invaluable in specific situations, and less valuable in others. That means they need other heros and sidekicks alongside them to close the gaps and generate more collective power against their nemeses than they could individually.

Modern business intelligence tools can help you perform heroic feats, even in skill and staffing assessments to help you get the right team in the right seats to optimize efficiency and performance. For example, a dashboard tool can show you candidate recruitment activity on a monthly basis so you can view your open positions segmented by job title, status and location. That means you can get the other heros and sidekicks on your team fast and start focusing on what’s next rather than the (often) never-ending recruitment process.

Convinced yet? Are you ready to draw your own hero parallels? In the meantime, why not start a free trial of a dashboard tool and begin uncovering all the other ways you can become a superhero yourself.