When executives first realize their need for analytics, they tend to turn to those closest to them for answers. Over time, these point-of-need resources come together in local line of business units to enable sharing of insights. Ultimately, centralized units emerge to bring a shared enterprise perspective — governance, tools, methods — and specialized expertise. As executives use analytics more frequently to inform day-to day decisions and actions, this increasing demand for insights keeps resources at each level engaged, expanding analytic capabilities even as activities are shifted for efficiencies. (see Figure 9.)
Sophisticated modeling and visualization tools, as we have noted, will soon provide greater business value than ever before. But that does not mean that spreadsheets and charts should go away. On the contrary: New tools should supplement earlier ones, or continue to be used side by side, as needed.
There are other ways that capabilities grow and deepen within an organization. Disciplines like finance and supply chain are inherently data intensive, and are often where analytics first take root. Encouraged by early successes, organizations begin expanding analytic decision making to more disciplines. In Transformed organizations, reusability creates a snowball effect as models from one function are repurposed into another with minimal modifications.
Over time, data-driven decision making branches out across the organization. As experience and usage grow, the value of analytics increases, which enables business benefits to accrue more quickly.