I’m blogging again! I’m doing a series over on the Cognetik blog on how to build a Successful Analytics Practice. Here is a cross-post of the intro:
Who’s driving this thing?
Our industry is full of intelligent, motivated people. Yet it feels like so often, for the amount of effort and thought we put into our Analytics solutions, we never quite get the full value that we know is there. As an analytics/data engineer, most of the work that comes across my desk is very tactical: deep-dive audits, technical specifications, configuring variables, setting up dashboards… these are all very valid and worthy activities, yet I still often hear frustration from my clients such as:
- We have a hard time getting others within our company to see the value and potential in our analytics.
- I want to use new tool features but upgrading will take too much effort.
- Many teams in my organization interact with data, but they all work in silos.
- It takes too long to get access to requested data.
- My organization’s report usage is scattered and doesn’t align with global KPIs.
- I need to apply my existing solution to a new site but I can’t find documentation on my current solution.
- We’re not collecting the data I actually need for analysis.
- We have so many new initiatives and works-in-progress, I don’t know which data I can trust.
- Training users and developers on our implementation or toolset uses too many resources.
- We collect a lot of data but I rarely get to see a report.
So what’s missing? For all the effort we put into designing solutions, implementing code, and configuring dashboards, what is stopping us from providing more value with our data?
I think often the problem is a lack of central leadership providing a foundation to work on. Now, I don’t mean to say our industry is lacking in leaders… far from it. But the problem is those leaders often aren’t given the resources or the permission to transform their org. So we end up with “lots of people in the car, but no one in the driver’s seat”. Because of how fast our industry has grown, Analytics practices have popped up in every organization, often organically and without much long-term planning. This leads to all those intelligent and motivated people working in silos, without a united focus or the resources to apply a global vision.
What’s the answer?
Each of these problems could be solved with the right Governance Model in place. That means consciously establishing roles, ownership, accountability, processes, and communication. Analytics should be a pro-active part of your organization, not an after thought. I’ll be posting a three-party series on how to get the ball rolling on establishing a healthy Analytics Practice: