Analytics – the new mandatory

An introduction to Insight Driven Organisations

Analytics is a systematic, mathematical, and statistical approach to solving complex business problems and predicting future outcomes. Due to the exponential increase in streams of data and the evolving technologies to analyse them (for example the prevalence of big data technologies), embracing the benefits of analytics has now become a critical element for dealing with the disruptive forces that are altering the competitive landscape.

Whilst leading organisations have made significant progress in developing analytics capabilities, the challenge is understanding how to best integrate analytics into an organisation so that it can deliver on its potential.

What is an Insight Driven Organisation?

At the heart of it – An Insight Driven Organisation (IDO) embeds analysis, data, and reasoning into the decision-making process, across the entire business, every day. It focuses first on asking the right questions, then doing the right analysis and consequently taking the right actions.

IDOs see analytics as a core capability across their organisation to provide insight to support the decision-making process; to tackle their most complex business problems; and to address the growing analytical trends.

Successfully injecting analytic insight into every decision requires a clearly defined and understood analytics strategy. This begins by establishing a sponsor and a champion, and providing them with a clear mandate and formalised governing body, to promote and align analytics activities across each business unit.

Organisations need to extend their focus beyond technology and data to encompass the essential elements of strategy, people and process. At the same time, they need more certainty that their investments in these essential building blocks will actually deliver returns you can bank.

To do this, the key is to engage in short, sharp, agile pieces of work that validate your direction and demonstrably create value. It’s not about making big up-front investments and waiting years for them to pay off. It’s about starting small, failing fast and building capability as you go.

This approach is key, enabling organisations to adjust their strategy and roadmap as they learn from their analytics projects and the insights gained from them. Some of the common challenges an organisation may encounter in the process of becoming an IDO are:

  1. Lack of a clearly articulated vision for analytics aligned to business strategy
  2. Measuring and demonstrating the value of analytics projects back to the business. This stems from project misalignment with business needs; lack of insight adoption despite a successful analytics project; or unrealistic expectations for results, timelines, outputs, or user-experiences
  3. Attracting the right analytics talent to your organisation. This stems from the high demand for skilled analytics practitioners and the small (but selective) supply of talent
  4. Poor implementation of insight based change, even if the analysis is clear and compelling. This stems from uncertainty of what change the analysis drives in the business and the underestimated importance of change management skills

The IDO Framework (refer to Figure 1) contains the fundamental building blocks of a successful IDO. They address the challenges, mentioned above, by holistically considering what is required to enable an organisation’s analytics transformation in becoming an IDO.

Figure 1 – IDO Framework

Knowing where to start the IDO journey can be challenging with so many moving parts to consider. Taking a step back to assess current capabilities and challenges across Strategy, People, Process, Data, and Technology will help to reduce a long list of opportunities for improvement to a selection of prioritised and manageable projects. At the same time an agile approach allows organisations to test, measure, learn and deliver quick wins early in the IDO journey.

The IDO Series

In future articles in the IDO series, we explore the IDO Framework in more depth and deep dive into some case studies to better understand how each of the building blocks drive success for insight driven organisations.

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