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Three breakout solutions of 2017

A quick-service restaurant chain used People Analytics to reshape how it ran its locations, from the talent profiles it hired to how it organized shifts and work. Performance, including customer satisfaction, improved.

– For more than ten years, our solutions have been a growing part of how McKinsey works with clients. Solutions integrate technology, data and analytics, and proprietary expertise into a more standardized service that can be part of a larger project or directly implemented by clients. Our portfolio today contains more than 85 solutions, and we launch more each year. In this post we look at three that have had exceptional growth in 2017—they reflect some of the most pressing challenges leaders face today.

People Analytics

This year, organizationally savvy companies have been building their use of analytics to help solve their most important talent-management questions.

People Analytics have been traditionally used in HR for hiring and retention. But this year, we opened the aperture and began looking across the entire organization at all the points in which teams, behaviors, and mindsets could directly influence business performance,” explains Carla Arellano, senior solution leader.

We are seeing clients use data to change daily managerial decisions…

The results have been surprising. For example, a quick-service restaurant chain with thousands of outlets found that, contrary to common belief, friendliness was not the most important criteria for hiring frontline staff. Instead, the data showed that servers who were laser-focused multitaskers helped locations deliver better performance, including more satisfied customers. At another organization, we identified patterns in how a sales force collaborated internally with colleagues and externally with clients that were closely linked to better sales performance.

“We are seeing clients use data to change daily managerial decisions, from the profiles they hire to the roles they define, how they coach, and how people spend their time,” Carla says.

In the past year, with computing advances and the availability of new data sources, from badge swipes and calendaring to Department of Education statistics, we have been able to develop new organizational insights, more quickly. Our team has expanded to include a number of data scientists with organizational, neuroscience, and behavioral backgrounds.

Cyber Solutions

In 2017, the scale and impact of cyberattacks around the world continued unchecked, with Internet of Things (IoT) environments especially vulnerable. The software for government spy tools was hijacked through insecure Wi-Fi cameras—the most widespread attack to date enabled by IoT.

Our cyber team did initial risk assessments and response preparedness for more than 100 organizations, and we saw the nature of our work evolve as we helped clients with fundamental problems. “We helped a health insurer navigate a major data breach and build its cyber response capabilities,” explains Dayne Myers, senior solutions leader. “We’ve worked with a national pension fund to identify high-risk data assets and a state-owned oil and gas company to significantly improve its cyber strategy and organization.”

[After] a major hack…it helps immensely to sit down with someone who has managed [this] before.

Businesses are also keenly interested in building capabilities, and we have used simulations and gaming techniques to train executives to manage and recover from a variety of incidents. Additionally, we developed a workshop to guide board members in how to think about cyber risks and monitor their companies’ own risk management.

The team has deepened its industry expertise as well as experience in a broad range of cyber issues. “When a CEO has just experienced a major hack impacting millions of customers, it helps immensely to sit down with someone who has managed such an incident before,” says Dayne. “In 2018, we will complete the development of solutions that use our latest knowledge work on quantifying data risk and explore applying analytics and AI resources to deepen our cyber risk-insights tools.”

Healthcare Analytics

And of course, this was a tumultuous year for healthcare policy, especially in the United States. But if there is one goal everyone agrees on, it is better patient outcomes with lower costs. Our Healthcare and Pharma Practices are coordinating to address this goal in a number of ways.

We know that for varied reasons, such as hectic work schedules, debilitating side effects, and changing doctors, fewer than half of patients properly take their medications. This issue is the cause of approximately 125,000 deaths each year and $290 billion in wasted medical costs. Even so, many of these are manageable.

Using Healthcare Analytics, we are helping organizations to identify patients who are not following their prescriptions and to develop interventions.

It starts with the data…Using advanced analytics, we can produce insights down to the individual patient level.

“It starts with the data. Our PrimeX solution integrates big data from a myriad of sources—including insurers, clinical data, pharmaceutical data—and combines them with consumer data such as demographics, purchase patterns, and media preferences to build patient profiles,” explains Prashanth Reddy, the partner in our Healthcare Practice who leads PrimeX. “Using advanced analytics, we can produce insights down to the individual patient level.”

As part of the solution, the Practice works with clients to build the interventions, as well as more flexibility and better communication flows, into their business processes and technologies. These may include coaching physicians, changing the dosage or application, and improving patient training.

The team is also using analytics to identify fraud. By applying machine learning across varied data sets, we can detect the anomalies that indicate fraud, misuse, and waste. Because these algorithms are self-learning tools, they improve in accuracy over time.

“In the past year or so, we have doubled our impact on reducing medical costs, embedded pharmaceutical and medical skills on our team, increased efficiency tenfold, and developed many more use cases,” says Prashanth. “Next year, we will explore using digital capabilities for improving adherence and continue to deepen our analytics sets, including through partnerships.”


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