Supporting Embedded Analytics Teams
Data is the easy part
I’m sorry if this comes across as bad news but it really is. The most common question that comes from nearly every discussion I have with C-suite data and analytics leadership is "how does my team interact with the business effectively?"
I have shared in the past about our research around changing the way business and data teams work, but as we turn towards the end of 2018, this challenge is becoming more and more important not only to analytics leaders, but business leaders who are craving for data and analytics to live up to its promise.
So what's next?
Providing a scalable platform
We need to provide business teams and embedded analytics with a framework to work within everyday. This isn’t about a team offsite where we come up with some great questions to ask, but rather mastering the quality of collaboration between these two groups. We need to move away from a mindset of asking for reports, towards identifying the questions that matter and are going to drive value against immediate business challenges. This is a team sport and digital platforms are instrumental here.
Agile analytics teams
Mastering everyday interactions requires more than a conversation around a dashboard! Business leaders need to share their biggest challenges and where they see the biggest opportunity. This is about working and exploring in an iterative way - asking better questions and surfacing insights that have been formulated elsewhere in the organisation. Here we are achieving two things; unlocking the collective intelligence of the organization and secondly, using our size to our advantage.
Asking better questions
I recently asked a senior analytics leader what the quality of the flow of questions was like coming from the business to her team. The answer? “Horrible”.
We need to apply constraints. Asking a leader what data they need about a business area is a dangerous exercise as we know we are victims of bias, bandwagon effect, silo’d thinking, heuristics… I could go on. Instead, we need to help teams surface key business areas that they seek to understand better, through a short and focused period of time - a sprint! From here, we’re hypothesis-led in the conversation and share supporting assumptions. Collaboration here is where we surface gaps in our understanding and that is how we get the better questions.
Scaled effectively across analytics teams we start to unlock the collective intelligence of our business areas and team.
“The 100 and 1 question dilemma”
So as we start to generate demand for analytics from the business through lots of better questions, how do we know where to start and apply analytics resource to best effect? Through digital technology and functions that are not alien to our users, we let the business prioritise through voting, comments, tagging and search. This way, we can apply analytics resources to the business questions that are really going to create value.
Like history has taught us over and over again, it’s team ways of working that are going to create value from data now and in the future.
As data culture becomes an increasingly important conversation for all c-suite leaders, supporting business and analytics teams to work in the most effective way is the next challenge.
Start now with a business team.