One of the main results of recent technological innovations has been an explosion of data. Making sense of the huge volumes of data your business produces is crucial, not only because it shows the health of your current business but also because good analytics can point the way to future transformation.
Analytics has perhaps been the business buzzword of the last few years and we are really only just beginning to appreciate how profound its effects can be. Demand for quality analytics is increasing across companies.
In general, analytics has three roles within the business. The first is visibility: What’s happening? Second, identifying the exceptions: What is going wrong, why, and what can we do about it? And third, setting a path for growth: Where are our opportunities?
A step-by-step approach
There are almost limitless opportunities on which to focus so the first step is to decide what you want to achieve. Without a clearly articulated intent, companies will either collect too much information or not enough. In either case you end up being unable to find the insights you need.
Next, you need to assess the demand within the organization. There is no point in producing analytics that nobody needs. Equally, you need to identify the current supply of data analysis so that you don’t find yourself duplicating existing processes. The gap between current supply of analytics and the demand for them is the area to target.
That will break down into three opportunities: critical analytics that are not currently supplied, analytics that are needed and not currently supplied but not priorities, and existing analytics that need refurbishing.
With those opportunities identified you should begin your project, working in an agile fashion to take advantage of quick wins. As you progress, assess what you have learned and change course accordingly.
Organizational needs change too fast for long projects to be worthwhile so your goals after a year might look very different from when you started.
Throughout the process, make sure that you are taking action on the data you are producing. Anything you produce that doesn’t lead to action is wasted and you could spend your efforts more profitably elsewhere.
To help drive meaningful change in your organization with analytics, I recommend the following:
Decide what you want to achieve.
Assess demand within the organization and current analytics supply. Focus your efforts on the gap between the two.
Begin your analytics project, working in an agile fashion to learn as you go. Constantly check that your analytics work is leading to action.