Today, anyone can easily get started with analytics. But without an internal centre of excellence, it’s impossible to unlock their full value.
Today, analytics capabilities are easier to access and engage with than ever before. Virtually anyone can use streamlined cloud-based open sourced analytics tools to start generating insights.
However, as many teams that have experimented with these tools will have experienced, when a single line of business team embarks on an analytics project without expert assistance and a joined up approach, the results often fall very short of expectations.
The cornerstones of long-term analytics success
In practice, what you get out of an analytics project depends entirely on what you put in.
To get the best results, uncover the strongest actionable insights and deliver highest levels of value to the business, all analytics projects and initiatives need three key things:
1) Well-maintained and clearly defined data
To be successful, analytics demands clean data from multiple sources – all clearly defined and regularly maintained by an expert data team. This should be data that’s already in the organisation’s systems and in use, or from outside agencies, social media etc., to ensure that analytics outputs are reflective of the true state of operations today and are capable of unleashing the potential.
2) Automated, actionable outputs
Good analytics models deliver insights that people across teams can easily turn into meaningful actions immediately. These outputs should also be automated, so teams are repeatedly served with the insights they need, as often as they’re required, without further effort.
3) A scalable foundation
Finally, analytics model ecosystems should be scalable. As the volumes and types of data that fuel them grow and change, the model should be able to grow and change alongside them – ensure it can continue to deliver value for teams long into the future. That also means being deployable at scale, so the solution can ultimately serve as many users across as many teams as required.
The power of an enterprise-wide view
To put those three things in place, you need to build an enterprise-wide view, and a team responsible for analytics delivery that connects:
- Your business team: The people that shape and understand what an organisation needs to get from analytics
- Data and analytics experts: The people who understand data and how to model it, and ultimately hold the skills needed to create automated analytics models
- IT professionals: The people with the skills to deploy analytics models as workable solutions, run them in a live ecosystem, and maintain the sources of analytical insights
Bringing those people together under one team is the foundation of an analytics Centre of Excellence (CoE). By combining the expertise and viewpoints of these groups, you can ensure all analytics projects:
- Are expertly created to deliver the highest-quality outputs
- Will continue to deliver long-term value through automated insight delivery
- Are aligned with the needs of the business as a whole – not just an individual team
The five reasons all organisations need an analytics CoE
The value of an analytics CoE goes far beyond just ensuring that analytics services, solutions and insights are created and deployed to a high standard. Here are five ways analytics CoEs add business value that organisations often overlook:
1) Starting your journey with a clear roadmap
The adoption and use of analytics represents a significant transformation for most organisations. These models and the insights they generate can radically impact how a business operates, from day-to-day process, right up to influencing its strategic direction. Transformation of that kind requires careful planning.
An analytics CoE team can carefully plan out an organisation’s analytics transformation roadmap. That means acquiring and building the right capabilities and skills, and developing models and processes that will deliver long term value for everyone.
2) Enabling continuous improvement and delivery
When individual teams are managing their own analytics processes, nobody else has any visibility of those projects, so they can’t learn from the successes and failures of that project.
With one team responsible for analytics delivery, every project brings new lessons learned that can be used to continuously improve the organisation’s other analytics models. This supports a continuous delivery approach where the company’s analytics capabilities and insights keep getting stronger.
3) Becoming future-ready
An analytics CoE can take a far more strategic approach to analytics projects than any individual line of business could. When building new models, they can look beyond the team’s immediate need, and ensure that what they create and deliver will meet tomorrow’s needs as well as today’s.
That could mean ensuring that a model will support unstructured data types like social media data for example, even if its first iteration will be fuelled purely by structured data. Or, the platform in use is scalable and can handle insight generation, on a real time basis.
4) Supporting data governance and compliance
Beyond simply creating models and delivering insights to the organisation, the analytics CoE team can also become powerful custodians of data – performing essential maintenance tasks that keep data clean and well-structured.
Having a team directly responsible for this ensures that analytics output quality remains high. But, it also helps support data governance and compliance efforts. The CoE team can define, maintain and closely monitor access rights, and help ensure that data and insights are only accessible by the right people at the right time.
5) Ensuring high adoption and engagement across the organisation
To see value from analytics, your teams need to understand how to access and use them properly. The analytics CoE team play an important role here, as both educators and advocates for analytics adoption.
Having the analytics CoE in place helps ensure high engagement with analytics, as teams across the business have a single defined place to direct their questions, and can access dedicated assistance whenever they need it.
Build your analytics CoE with The Smart Cube
When you have an analytics CoE, you have everything you need to ensure long-term analytics success in one place. You’ll immediately be able to better meet the demands of the entire business today, while simultaneously preparing for whatever new data or insight challenges tomorrow might bring.