Making 'management by walking around' more productive


two business people looking at ipadThe idea of "management by walking around" has been around for a while.  First brought to prominence in Tom Peters and Robert Waterman’s best-seller In Search of Excellence, the concept is that managers get out of their offices and meet employees in their work areas to get a sense of how things are going, listen to whatever is on their minds, and explore what is working and what isn’t.

In our modern, technology-driven world where people communicate more with email, social media and other channels, it’s more important than ever to make the effort to interact  face-to-face with your teams. 

The E-Land Group, a South Korea-based retail and real estate conglomerate, has given new meaning to the term management by walking around, with some help from visual analytics.

E-Land has sales of $10 billion a year from shopping centers, clothing brands, hotels, construction and retail stores. The group has 21 companies in 10 countries and is expanding rapidly. With such a large geographic footprint, management by walking around can be difficult without the help of technology.

All of the E-Land’s businesses are served by an IT subsidiary that manages data, designs optimization programs and provides decision-making systems using big data analytics. What this subsidiary doesn’t want to be is a roadblock. Rather, its goal is to help executives glean meaningful insight from their large volumes of data. That was one reason for the decision to add visual analytics.

The second reason for adding visual analytics goes back to the principles of management by walking around. Two years ago E-Land Group’s top executives began using Apple® iPad® tablets. The executives quickly figured out that these were great devices when they were visiting with workers in the field. Instead of relying on their instincts or what they could recall from reports, they could verify data and share information as they spoke with team members. But there was a catch: They needed to easily access information in a format suitable to mobile devices. Bulky spreadsheets and reports that were out of date as soon as they were commissioned would not do.

Through SAS® Visual Analytics and SAS® Mobile BI, E-Land has made it possible for its business executives to approach and use reports easily, without the help of IT professionals. And they’re able to interact with the data in real time, which provides uninterrupted workflow – they no longer have to say, “I don’t have that information, I’ll get back to you.”

One of the key tenets of management by walking around is the ability for executives to help resolve problems. And with the use of mobile technologies and SAS Visual Analytics, E-Land executives are able to share a single version of the truth in real time so that everyone can agree on the actions that need to be taken.

Check out how SAS Visual Analytics can help your business, allow you to get closer to your employees and customers, and keep you ahead of your competition.


About Author

Alan Lipson

Principal Product Marketing Manager

I’m Alan Lipson, the Principal Industry Marketing Manager for the Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industries. I’m here to help retail and CPG companies get the most out of SAS Analytics, whether you’re seeking to plan better assortments, set a better pricing strategy, or connect to consumers in a more meaningful way. You can connect with me by subscribing to my RSS feed, or through Twitter at @SASRetail. You can also follow me personally on Twitter at @alanlipson and on LinkedIn.

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