Over the past number of years I have worked with a number of organisations that were at the beginning of their journey to becoming an analytically driven organisation. And over those years I have come to believe that the path taken by any company in becoming an analytically driven organisation is much like starting a revolution. Let me explain my reasoning.
Firstly, we must set out the ideology that the revolutionaries are aspiring to, in other words what does an analytically driven organisation really look like?
- Most importantly any well run organisation must have a clear, well defined business strategy that is understood across the organisation. The difference with an analytically driven organisation is that analytics is a key element of the business strategy and the entire organisation will have bought into that concept.
- Data is crucial to any organisation’s analytical endeavours so the organisation must have well maintained, consistent, joined-up data from all areas of the business. There are lots of different ways of accomplishing this and this is not the focus of this article. Whatever approaches are taken to achieving it, however, it is a must have.
- Departments must work in unison to achieve the goals set out in the business strategy. If you are to have consistency in how the organisation functions you must have collaboration between departments, i.e. joined-up thinking.
- Having a team of people produce outstanding insight from analytics is a futile exercise unless the business – people, processes and systems – has the ability to exploit the analytical output.
Given this definition for an analytically driven organisation we can outline the phases a business passes through in becoming one. Rather than re-inventing the wheel I am going to use the model described by Thomas Davenport and Jeanne Harris in Competing on Analytics (if you haven’t already read it, it is well worth a read as is their follow on Analytics At Work). Their model outlines the phases a business passes through in becoming an “Analytic Competitor” or in my words an analytically driven organisation. There are five phases.
But how does an organisation move through these different phases? This is where the revolution comes in. The stages of an analytics revolution, just like any revolution, are as follows:
- Revolutions start with an ideology – in our case an ideology that every aspect of our organsiation should be analytically driven
- There is a small targeted movement towards changing the current state of operating to operation under the new ideology
- The revolution gains momentum
- There is a turning point when the new ideology is accepted as the way to move forward
- There is a concerted effort to move towards operating under the new ideology
- The new ideology is now the way of life
Join in next time to look this in more detail.