5 Recommended Steps for Analytic Practices

The article on analytics which was recently published by Baseline magazine should be of great interest to our Members. Brian McCarthy and Robert Berkey are managing directors in the Accenture Analytics Advisory Practice, and Chad Vaske is a manager in the practice. Their advice can be found at http://www.baselinemag.com/analytics-big-data/5-actions-that-can-help-companies-master-analytics-2.html#sthash.hkJOz2gb.dpuf. 
Here's our take on their analytics guidance:
1. Establish a Center of Gravity. - This is Accenture's parlance for starting a Center-of-Excellence. This is our top recommendation as well, but after a good business charter has been written to support the establishment of this important infrastructural component.
2. Establish Agile Governence - This step is a bit nebulous but once you think it through, it does make good business sense. The authors say, "Building regular checkpoints into a company’s analytics strategy is vital for measuring performance and rolling out new and improved capabilities. These checkpoints enable companies to correct their course and prevent them from overinvesting in capabilities or ideas that might not be well-received by customers. To benchmark success, a company could design executive scorecards to track performance or establish “value-creation offices” to provide program management office resources that track value achieved against key metrics." The question that you and we might have is what chackpoints make the most sense? This is where we advise companies to conduct a Strategic Value Assessment (SVA) before you move to the proof-of-concept stage. By assessing the low hanging fruit, you can then develop a set of check points that are all oriented around value creation and return-on-investment.
Another approach is to develop a set of holistic requirements that are generated by an interdisciplinary team and this is the next recommendation.
3. Create an interdisciplinary, high-performing analytics team. - Great step and well said!
4. Deploy new capabilities faster. - The authors recommend, "One of the differentiators shared by the mature companies studied was their preparedness and ability to scale. These organizations pilot with the intent to scale; that is, they establish the right mindset, processes and accountability to quickly test, learn, refine and implement. In fact, 68 percent of the study respondents cited “scaling” as a key priority capability they had gained from designing and implementing their own analytics organization. Using an approach that includes scaling right from the start can help businesses improve talent acquisition; rationalize vendors, suppliers, data and tools; and optimize analytics investments." Our thinking is aligned with their guidance. But we continue to emphasize the ROI intelligence findings that are at the heart of any "time-to-scale" effort. By ensuring that all analytics leaders are well aware of the SVA and ROI underpinnings the holistic, high performance team can really move an organization forward with well-timed and well thought out applications. We have defined our GRC Data lake for this very purpose. Each step that is taken feeds data into the lake and each application conceives how to leverage the data which is much like catching fish from the lake.
5. Raise the company’s analytics IQ. - The authors make another good point on raising all employees' awareness and education levels with this step guidance. They say, "To get a jump-start on an effective and accelerated analytics journey, we identified three immediate priorities that companies should follow:
 
1. Select an agile and swift analytics approach by understanding your organization’s existing resources, talent, tools and investments to identify the gaps and redundancies.
 
2. Develop industrialized execution capabilities by establishing governance that empowers a team of top analytics talent.
 
3. Sustain the change by assessing your company’s analytics IQ and raising the business acumen for analytics resources where needed.
 
Companies that don’t take the time to enhance their analytics business processes, capabilities and talent will miss the mark and be left behind. Those that make the effort to build and sustain advanced analytics capabilities will transform into mature, insight-driven enterprises that can better manage the pressures of the business today and pursue new, innovative changes for tomorrow."
This step is really a wonderful piece of advice. It's rarely seen in the real world, but if you look at the value measurements that we have collected in our analytics video, you, too, will agree with Accenture and ourselves! The bottom line is that if your organization is interested in targeting analytics excellence for high return and sustainable competitive advantage, read this great article.

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