Set Yourself up for Success

This is part 9 of 11 from “Analytics: The New Path to Value,” a report on the findings of the 2010 New Intelligent Enterprise Global Executive Study and Research Project.

Aware that analytics-driven opportunities are central to growth and success, organizations seek to capture the value. They want to find the best place to begin, but for many, that entry point is elusive.

If you are Aspirational: Assemble the best people and resources to make the case for investments in analytics. To get sponsorship for initial projects, identify the big business challenges that can be addressed by analytics and find the data you have that fits the challenge.

If you are Experienced: Make the move to enterprise analytics and manage it by keeping focus on the big issues that everyone recognizes. Collaborate to drive enterprise opportunities without compromising departmental needs while preventing governance from becoming an objective unto itself.

If you are Transformed: Discover and champion improvements in how you are using analytics. You’ve accomplished a lot already with analytics, but are feeling increased pressure to do more. Focus your analytics and management bandwidth to go deeper rather than broader, but recognize it will be critical to continue to demonstrate new ways of how analytics can move the business toward its goals.

Techniques to Get Started

Pick your spots. Search for your organization’s biggest and highest priority challenge, and create a PADIE diagram to describe it. (See Figure 5, Introducing the PADIE Technique for Operationalizing Analytics.) Show available data sources, models to be built, and processes and applications where analytics will have an impact. Create multiple diagrams if you’re selecting from a strong list of possible initiatives. Keep in mind that your biggest problems, such as customer retention, anti-fraud efforts or advertising mix, are also your biggest opportunities. Change is hard for most, so select an initiative worthy of sustained focus that can make the biggest difference in meeting your most important business goals. Remember that focus is critical during these initial efforts. Do not get distracted once the targeted area is identified.

Prove the value. With your PADIE diagram in hand, use reason and benchmarks for initial executive sponsorship, but use a proof-of-value pilot to keep sponsors engaged. Estimate how much revenue can be gained, how much money can be saved and how much margins can be improved. Employ techniques to embed analytics to illustrate and prioritize the types of organizational changes that are needed to achieve the value. Pull it all together using an implementation road map with a clear starting point and a range of options for future opportunities.

Roll it out for the long haul. The challenge should be big, the model insightful and the business vision complete. However, the first implementation steps can be small, as long as they fit your agenda. Reduce your rework by using business analytic and process management tools that you have selected for the long haul — information governance, business analytics and business rules. As you make progress, don’t forget to analyze feedback and business outcomes to determine where your analytics model and business vision can be improved.

Make Analytics Pay Off

It takes big plans followed by discrete actions to gain the benefits of analytics. But it also takes some very specific management approaches. Each of our recommendations meets three critical management needs:

  • Reduced time to value
  • Increased likelihood of transformation that’s both significant and enduring
  • Greater focus on achievable steps.

To start on the fastest path to value, keep everyone focused on the big business issues and select the challenges that analytics can solve today within an agenda for the future. Build on the capabilities you already have. And always keep pressing to embed the insights you’ve gained into business operations.