by Mike Sargo
The increasing speed and pace of business contributes to several data challenges.
These challenges include quality, timeliness, availability and, most important, usability of the data. As the number of data sources increase and data volumes expand along with the demand from the business to access data on a timelier basis there starts to become pressures on the underlying technology.
Many organizations look at technology to solve their data challenges when often these challenges exist because of a lack business support and buy in in the form of:
- Process of Approach
Outdated technology, or a poor technology implementation can certainly increase the number of challenges an organization has to manage. Larger organizations require much more of a transformational change. This transformation should enable the organization and its leaders think about their data and how they can start managing data as a corporate asset.
Business leaders often view these data challenges as an IT issue or lack of ability to meet the business needs. The reality is that the organization has several dynamics that should be addressed to deliver value to the business.
Due to most organizations focusing on technology to solve their challenges, managing the organizational aspects starts to become one of the most overlooked areas. Regardless of technology solution failure to address the organizational dynamics will result with an organization that continues to struggle. To be successful with their data initiatives you must manage the organizational dynamics of the business to implement a successful data and analytics program. Successful data and analytics programs require a combination of people, processes, data, and technology to deliver value to the business.
Data delivers value to the business by solving the organizations information needs as it relates to effective decision making and taking action.
There are many areas where organizations go wrong in the process but by far the most difficult challenge is establishing a collaborative environment where everyone throughout the business can collaborate and work together. This process is an exercise in effective leadership which is paramount to the future success of the data and analytics program.
Transforming an organization that has successfully managed the organizational dynamics results in a strong partnership between the information technology and business teams where they have a shared vision for their data and analytics program. The vision should align the business and technical strategies to ensure that the data and analytics priorities are aligned to the business strategy and the proposed solutions are in line with the future state information technology architecture.
There are a few approaches to organizational alignment but the one approach we’ve been successful with is taking a center of excellence approach. Establishing a virtual group of representatives that consists of leaders from all areas of business and information technology teams. At a high level they will be tasked with setting the overall vision for the program, leadership, governance, communication, prioritization, change management, and controlling the budget.
Next there should be the extended team that has a combination of business, information technology, and analytical skills. The business skills team needs to have a very good understanding of the business needs and organizations business processes. The individuals with business skills will be tasked with prioritization and change management largely driven from the business case justification established for each initiative. The IT skills team needs to have a deep understanding of data management and data architecture. The ability to architect a solution that further matures the business intelligence program laying the foundation for future initiatives is critical. Lastly individuals with analytical skills who have a combination of both business and information technology skills. These individuals will be responsible for leading the development of the business case and turning the business problems into business intelligence solutions.
In the end organization who want to be successful at business intelligence should take a centralized approach and also manage business intelligence as a program. Another key to success is you should have strong executive sponsorship that understands the value that this type of approach can deliver to the business.