Nexus (noun). “a connection or series of connections linking two or more things”.
Predictive Enterprise (noun). “The use of predictive capabilities (data, information & analytics) to optimize decision making, mitigate risk and exploit insights for competitive advantage”
Anyone who has read this blog and my many articles in Information Age (www.information-age.com) on the subject of the Chief Data Officer (and its many variants i.e. Chief Analytics Officer, Chief Digital Officer, etc.) over the past year or so is no doubt quite aware that I am neither a fan, nor supporter of the notion of a “Data Czar”. I have attended numerous conferences on this topic and have read the entire litany of rationalizations written by so many out there as to why this role is critical in today’s enterprise. Everyone, except me it seems, is full enamored with this notion and are all happy to cheerlead its success even if they don’t have one of their own yet (you know who I am referring to here). I myself have decided to take a different path than the rest of the pack.
Having pondered, much less experienced first hand the challenges of “How to evolve into a Predictive Enterprise” I want to address the three essential challenges associated with this journey; Executive Leadership, Strategy and Culture. Each provides a critical element of success and yet have been left out of much of the Data & Analytics conversations to date (I touched on all three in my last blog series on “Transformational Leadership for Big Data & Analytics Success”). My aim now is to change that and make them front and center in the discussion going forward while combining them with the technology components of Data, Information & Analytics.
When I was developing the notion of The Data Leadership Nexus in my mind I was focused on how to bring all of the key components together in a way that would ultimately create an aggregate response to the needs of a Predictive Enterprise. The most obvious components of the Nexus are the ones that most everyone dwells on; Data (big and small), Information (data with appropriate context) and Analytics (statistical, descriptive, predictive & cognitive), with the less-obvious being the three critical enablers of Executive Leadership, Strategy and Culture. All are not necessarily equal in significance at any particular point along the Predictive Enterprise journey, but all are necessary nonetheless.
For the moment my working definition of the Data Leadership Nexus is as follows;
The Data Leadership Nexus connects Data, Information, Analytics, Executive Leadership and Organizational Culture to create strategic impact, differentiation and enterprise value within every organization striving to become a true Predictive Enterprise). The Data Leadership Nexus represents the single biggest opportunity to realize the benefits that have been extolled about Big Data and Advanced Analytics and is the linchpin for establishing “a culture of analytics” which fosters evidence-based decisioning, deep insights, full knowledge exploitation and optimized strategic performance while making all such activities pervasive across their enterprise. To me it is the realization of everything data-related that we have been working towards for more than 50 yrs. now in Management Theory, Decision Science and Technology.
Having established the definition and rationale for The Data Leadership Nexus, the next step is to define the means to a successful journey to become a Predictive Enterprise.
The first step, and absolutely the most critical, is to firmly establish the role and accountability of Executive Leadership in this nexus. In my last blog post of July 25th (“Data & Analytics Leadership: Missing in Action”) I made the case that the CEO, Board and Senior Executive Team have essentially been MIA during the entirety of the data & analytics journey to date and that if this does not change fundamentally then the benefits of being a Predictive Enterprise will never be realized. I will expand on those beliefs and more in the next installment of The Data Leadership Nexus, entitled “Leadership Requirements in the Predictive Enterprise.”.