Nearly every organization today uses analytics. But not every organization is getting as much out of its analytics as it could. So, how do you truly excel with analytics to deliver the best support for decisions?
Create A Plan!
Doesn’t sound like a secret at all does it? Well, too few organizations have done this. The most successful companies always begin their analytics projects with a clear strategy. Make sure all key stakeholders are aligned by writing down and sharing:
- What you’re trying to achieve
- Who you’re trying to reach
- Why it matters
- How you’ll measure success
Use Business Discovery To Spotlight Data Quality Issues
If you’re waiting for perfect data, you’ll be waiting forever. Instead, use your analytics tools to spot abnormalities in your data and learn from them. Then, engage the people who own the data and share your insights to help them fix their processes. By working together, you can significantly improve your data quality over time.
Team Up With A Designer
The way users visualize data influences the way they understand it, so aesthetics play an important role. A good designer can help you develop an intuitive and effective user experience and a great look and feel for dashboards and visualizations. Just remember that data visualization best practices always outrank aesthetic design.
Learn Through Play & Through Doing
Nobody creates a perfect model for their data on the first try. And that’s OK. In fact, you can learn a lot about your data by exploring it from different angles. Let everyone connect with the data in their own ways — you’ll be amazed at what they discover. Use what they do to inform your strategy (secret #1).
Unlike other software projects, adoption of analytics is voluntary in your organization. So, if you want people to know you have a better solution, act like a software vendor and start promoting it. Enlist the help of your marketing department and sell the value of analytics throughout your entire organization.
Find A Champion
Choose an influential person or team that has an unmet need and empower them with analytics. Turn them into believers by showing them what’s possible. Then spotlight their success to prove the value of analytics to the rest of your business.
Build A Cross-Functional Team
When analytics makes it easy to repeat successes and avoid failures, it will sell itself. Bring together a cross-functional team and put them in charge of:
- Deciding the role of analytics
- Defining the standards and tools
- Identifying best practices and gaps
- Iterating and improving the solution over time
Have Dual Processes
If you’re changing the way you measure KPIs or profits, you need to take your time and get it right. But sometimes you have to develop an app right now to analyze a unique and urgent situation. Make sure you have a different process in place for both tempos — and know that it’s OK to build temporary throw-away apps for one-off projects.
Tip The Balance Away from Reports
Most BI deployments focus on pushing out the same backward-looking reports that we’ve had for decades. But providing a description of the situation isn’t where the analytic value is for decision makers. They need to know ‘why?’, not just ‘what?’. So, rebalance your efforts to focus on diagnostic discovery and exploration capabilities.
Turn Your Data Into A Profit Centre?
Are you sitting on an information goldmine? Would outside organizations pay good money to access your proprietary data? Or, could you use it to add value for your customers? Step back and think creatively about all the ways you could monetize the data you already own.