Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Creating a Successful Data and Analytics Program - Spell out your ambitions (Part 2 of 6)

This is part 2 in a 6-part series about creating a successful Data and Analytics program. To read part 1, please follow the link below.
And now on to part 2...

Step 1:  Spell out your ambitions

What will Data and Analytics provide that we cannot already do? What do we expect the ROI be in terms of cost/time savings or additional revenue? Where do we stand compared to our rivals? Will Data and Analytics provide us a strategic advantage in the marketplace or is it a requirement just to stay relevant? These questions and more are critical to consider as you embark on the Data and Analytics journey, and they need to be answered to an extent that gains significant buy-in from senior leaders. Stepping back a bit, you are, at the very least, looking to understand why you are going on this journey, what success looks like, and how you will measure your progress towards success. This applies to all significant investments a company makes, but becoming data-driven is typically such a difficult undertaking (and often expensive) that having this framework in place is even more vital.

Note:  Upper management support is not simply about money and prioritization. They, too, need to adopt Data and Analytics as part of their culture. If they expect a Manager or Director to run their operations according to specific KPIs, then the senior leadership needs to pay attention to those same KPIs and use them to review performance. If they expect others to accept and react to information gleaned from data, they have to be open to that as well even if the information runs contrary to long-held beliefs. If they want data literacy to expand beyond the Data and Analytics team, then they need to become data literate themselves and ensure that all teams are playing their role in the cultural evolution. HR, in particular, can be key to this evolution. At any medium to large company, it is not possible for a single team to achieve all of the change that is required. Significant support is necessary from leadership in all areas.

Along with answering questions like those posed above, a decision must be made on priorities. There are essentially four areas where Data and Analytics can be utilized:
  • Improve existing products and service offerings
  • Build new products and service offerings
  • Automate and optimize internal processes
  • Transform business models

Done correctly, a business can scale out their Data and Analytics initiative to cover all four bullets, but it is important to start with a narrower focus to avoid becoming overwhelmed and diluting the benefits of the initial undertaking. The fourth bullet is also, typically, a much more significant endeavor than the other three and likely not where you would want to start unless it is a necessity.

In part 3 of the series, we will select our organizational structure...

No comments: