Journey to Data Enablement in Fortune 500 Companies (with McDonald's & Alteryx)

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Transformation without analytics is just digitization. It’s the analytics that leads to transformation. In this episode of DATAcated on Air, host Kate Strachnyi talks with two leaders in fortune 500 companies. Jeff Niemen, Director of Data and Analytics Enablement at McDonald’s, and David Sweenor, Senior Director of Product and Solution Marketing at Alteryx, talk about the value of analytics combined with digitization. Listen to learn how McDonald’s and Ford applied these principles to increase their effectiveness in the market.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • McDonald’s and Alteryx working together [04:29]
  • Data analytics in large companies [07:45]
  • Team structure at McDonald’s [11:06]
  • Fostering data literacy [14:30]
  • Empowering the world with data [19:08]
  • Data democratization and literacy [22:01]
  • Obtaining executive buy-in [26:56]
  • McDonald’s biggest data discovery [34:39]
  • Recommendations to start in data enablement [39:24]

Data analytics and McDonald’s

With all the complexity that goes into large companies, there are many opportunities to gain extra value. Data analytics account for what happened and why and help predict what will happen. With this information, the future can be directed. McDonald’s uses this information to forecast its vast network of local suppliers. The company needs to know how the amount it charges will affect sales and increase.

Nearly 1% of the world’s population dines at McDonald’s every day. McDonald’s is in 120 markets worldwide, and each market is different. The location in Germany is very different from the location in the U.S. Each is cultural in its own place and part of each community. While there is a lot of complexity, certain things need to be tracked, and certain things need to be driven towards, no matter the scale.

Breakthrough with analytics

Alteryx’s mission is to empower every person to use data and analytics to achieve a breakthrough moment in their business. The company is based on the notion that humans are at the core of everything it does. People who know the business of analytics already know how to solve problems. They need tools and education to encourage them to leap into automation. Once they are moving with automation, there’s no stopping them.

The idea of democratization in data science literally means empowering people. Lately, the term enablement has been used more. It’s the idea of helping someone take the next step. That can mean helping someone become better at Excel and eventually move to an automated tool like Alteryx or Dataiku. The next step might be something with visualization.

Using analytics to change

When an organization defines its project and scope, it needs to attach the purpose to something meaningful rather than simply digitizing the existing project. Transformation without analytics is just digitization. It’s the analytics that makes it transformative. Organizations need to think about how they can change due to analytics.

Companies spend hundreds of billions of dollars on big data or data and analytics. However, most executives believe that they’re not leveraging this because of cultural issues. The barrier to adoption isn’t technology; it’s culture. Executive buy-in hugely opens doors because it encourages the rest of the company to go all-in. Alignment isn’t the only way to make a change, but it sure helps.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Jeff Nieman

Connect with David Sweenor

Connect with DATAcated

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