Getting Value from Insights-as-a-Service
Organisations are continuously in search of better and faster ways to get more business value from their data investments. I speak to Chief Analytics Officers all the time, who are seeking for new ways to help the business teams inside their organizations find new ways to keep pace with competitors using data and analytics.
Insights-as-a-Service has come up a lot recently as a cloud-based offering, but in many cases, professional services are also a part of the services offered - consultancies providing the specialist skills required.
The major force driving the insights-as-a-service market is the increased ability of technologies to process huge workload through cloud, business intelligence maturation, and lower cost of ownership.
Sounds good right?
Well, if we still want our business teams to consume these insights effectively and derive the promised value, there are still a number of hurdles that we need to overcome. As I have said before, the interaction between business and analytics (whether an in-house analytics team or as a cloud based service model), is where the value is won and lost. Here is where we glisten real business context and formulate the right questions to ask.
4 steps to unlocking value from
1. Highlight the really important stuff!
When we discover an insight that is closely tied to a key business goal or strategic initiative, it’s more likely to drive action and teams are more likely to share across silos where exponential value can be found. Having a process of “highlighting” or “tagging” these goals or initiatives at the start of your exploration can enable more effective silo busting, even automated insight sharing.
In Connectworxs for example, a supply chain team exploring “innovation” may want to tag their exploration with Supply Chain Optimisation - subsequently, any other groups working in this area can get notified of potential value.
By connecting insights to (other) teams that are working on and can influence the same things, you can trigger more action and multiply the value.
2. Provide context
Working in a cross functional way, and articulating hypotheses and assumptions around the (above) key business area, enables the IaaS provider to glisten critical context. This is where collaboration needs to happen. This isn’t about conference calls, meetings and team off sites or “data labs” but rather through collaborative technology designed specifically for this interaction. Here, the role of leaders is to remove the friction between these two elements through effective ways of working.
Top Tip! Agile works well here. Frequent iteration and feedback loops through a cross functional team is an effective way of quickly gaining business context and filling gaps in understanding.
3. Sharing intelligence, not reports
I have found a distinct lack of understanding between what is information and intelligence.
“Simply, intelligence is useful information.”
So the skill for business teams is to know who needs to know what and by when and communicating insights effectively. A single insight can be both a strong signal for one person and just more noise for another. If insights aren’t shared to the right decision makers, they will not receive the attention they deserve.
“This is about unlocking the collective intelligence of your organisation."
Top Tip! This isn’t a “dashboard of the week competition”. The quality of intelligence is what matters not the visualisation (despite what many vendors tell you).
To give another Connectworxs example, here is a team sharing an intelligence report that contains all of the working and insights generated during a sprint. This sharing can be automated through tags and subsequent notifications - data with context going to the right teams at the right time - automated Intelligence!
4. Understanding fuels foresight
After speaking to over 2000 leaders through my recent book research, the ability for teams to See Around Corners was clear advantage in the unpredictable environment business team operate in.
By effectively connecting our business experience (housed in all of our business team and leaders knowledge) and IaaS we will understand our markets, competitors and critical business issues better. This is the fuel of better decision-making.
The way we work with each other will drive change. Not technology and data alone.