So avoid the killer strategy. A much better approach is a less ambitious set of deliverables in incremental usable stages. The roadmap should have defined outcomes for each capability in a prioritised sequence.
Keep in mind that just as analytics implementers tread a safer path by not rushing, users of analyses need to be able to properly digest what they are progressively given to work with.
Don’t be distracted:
Having set the objectives, stay with them. As the analytics journey progresses, avoid being distracted by a growing realisation of what else is possible. Analytics technologies are rich and always evolving.
They will continue offering additional functionality and performance, and the promise of enticing business value outcomes that may not have been considered when the journey began.
However, pushing the performance and technology frontier too early can result in excessive effort being spent on proving the viability of a theory, rather than developing a sound capability and delivering consistently useful results at the earliest time.
As with any project, the only thing that really matters is improving business effectiveness. In the case of analytics, this means enabling users to uncover valuable insights that would otherwise remain hidden from them.
It’s all about winning hearts and minds by proving that leveraging information assets for business gain is both possible and manageable.
Developing an initial level of analytics capability that can be enhanced over time represents a significant business transformation. As with any other transformative initiative, the focus should be on relentless execution and the acceptance that ideology must be sensibly balanced against pragmatism.
Objectives that result in analytics capabilities that are inappropriate, incomplete or late were wrongly set in the first place. A brilliant strategy that cannot be delivered should rightly be considered a failure, but it happens.
Too many organisations seek the ultimate without due attention to core capabilities and getting the basics right.
When that happens, the end result is a poor return on a significant investment, a jaundiced view of analytics that will be hard to overcome, and a serious hit to the organisation’s collective morale.
For analytics success – set a realistic strategy to deliver insights the existing organisation needs and can quickly take advantage of; focus the available analytics skills on what can be achieved in the nearer term, building on that platform over time.
Without being inflexible, avoid extending the project by technology distractions, and then adapt and refine as skills mature.
Good decision making into the future depends on pragmatism from the outset.
By Geoff Beynon - General manager of SAS Institute New Zealand