How IT Leaders Can Drive Analytics Success

Looking back on the year 2016, I think this was the year that many organizations realized that data is the fuel that will differentiate their business strategies from those of their competitors. There is a growing realization that business process and analytics are only as good as they data they are built on. After years of producing beautiful dashboards, but not trusting the data, management is ready to focus on what really matters: enterprise data management.

We are now seeing a new generation of Chief Analytics Officers, and Chief Data Officers who realize that they need to focus on “data-first” to be successful. These new leaders are driving the growing realization that data is not just “valuable” or “essential” to the business—data is the business.

Yet despite more attention and urgency to data than ever, the majority of analytics initiatives are not successful. The primary reason is lack of data management. By focusing on too much on the current initiative or the current go-live, the broader concern of data management has been put off. Many senior IT managers have told me that they are only funded for the project and do not have the mandate or resources to address the bigger data problem. As business and IT teams redefine their how they will jointly manage data, it’s essential that IT communicate one core idea: Data needs to be a shared resource across the entire enterprise, and it has to be managed so that everybody with a legitimate need can find it, use it, and trust it.

Starting the conversation

We’ve just released a new eBook aimed at helping analytics leaders deliver results. The eBook, “The Chief Analytics Officer’s Guide to Getting Analytics Right,” is also a great tool for IT managers looking to open a dialogue on data with their CAO, CDO, or VP of Analytics, because it helps to connect the dots between the business strategy and the underlying data management issues that slow them down.

 

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The eBook also explains that to achieve deliver more value from data, faster, analytics solutions must be built on three solid pillars:

  • Enterprise Data Management: Making all data—internal, external—available to all analytics users. Busting down silos creates new opportunities for insight.
  • Data Governance: Managing data as a business asset, with the same attention your CFO gives to financial assets, assures that you’re providing trusted and contextualized data.
  • Data Self Service: Cutting the middle man to better meet the need for speed. When you enable business users, analysts and data scientists to access information without IT assistance, they’ll deliver value faster.

From the discussion of those three imperatives, the eBook looks at how to build an analytics architecture that actually supports your company’s business objectives. It sets out five principles that may be applied differently from one enterprise to the next, but that are essential elements of a mature data management capability.

Getting down to business

Business units are focused on new, transformative analytics initiatives such as better customer engagement, better patient healthcare outcomes, better fraud detection. It’s the role of IT to help them to understand and prioritize the data initiatives that will be required to make these business initiatives successful.

Yet getting IT and business teams on the same page is a classic, enduring problem. (I just googled how to align business and IT and got 50.7 million hits.)

The best IT leaders will play a strong and active role in the business strategy process. Their role is not just to “be the implementers,” but to advise the business on technology and data issues, and to ensure that the data architecture will support the business strategy in the near terms and in the future. This eBook is intended to help open a positive and constructive dialogue.

Check out the eBook, “The Chief Analytics Officer’s Guide to Getting Analytics Right,” to see what a robust, thriving data architecture looks like, and how to establish it.

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