Archives For Business Analytics

In the two previous installments of this series, I focused my viewpoint on;

1.- Defining a Leadership Paradigm for Big Data & Analytics Success

2.- Establishing Top-Down Accountability

In this final installment I will focus on the roles that optimized Organizational Design and broad Cultural Adoption play in the success of any Big Data & Analytics Success Story.

Suffice it to say, you cannot simply establish Top-down Accountability within the Leadership Hierarchy and expect to achieve real transformation. You must also create a “to be” Organizational Model that is optimized for the strategic mission and the realization of its outcomes, as well as bringing the entire Organization’s Culture on board to support this vision and the pursuit of the outcomes that come with it. Without these critical Organizational endeavors you will not be successful with your Big Data & Analytics Transformation no matter how strong of a Leadership Hierarchy you have created.

Your Leadership Hierarchy (beginning with the CEO & Board and then cascading down to Senior Executives and their subordinates) is collectively responsible for making realizable all of the Big Data & Analytics strategic outcomes as part of their overall operational plans and activities. To accomplish this the Leadership Hierarchy must approach the challenge with an optimized Organizational Structure that has been designed to be fit for purpose for this task and not one where you are trying to leverage a legacy structure that cannot adapt to this new mission. This has been one of the classic mistakes so far as Organizations’ attempt to “bolt on” their Big Data & Analytics strategy to existing structures, rather than address Organizational Design requirements as part of the strategy itself. Examples of this is the use of Competency Centers and Centers of Excellence as catalysts to create critical mass for Big Data & Analytics. Each time this approach is advocated and ultimately undertaken, poor results and a dissipation of Leadership buy-in results as they are not leverageable across the entire Enterprise and typically only serve the needs of the few and not the many. Quick fixes and Organizational band-aids will not work if you want Big Data & Analytics to be truly pervasive. Organizational Design is a process that supports the CEO & Board in moving from Strategy to its successful execution and will require appropriate investment and disruption of the status quo. It is an essential component of achieving the Strategic Outcomes that manifest from your Big Data & Analytics Strategy and should not be undertaken as an after thought. Like any other critical component of the Organization and its Operating Model it must be fully deployed at the time of your Transformation journey as one of the required elements for success .

Secondly, Cultural Adoption is the most critical challenge associated with any Big Data & Analytics strategy and must be fully appreciated, much less addressed at every point along the journey. It can be an accelerator or a de-limiter (much less killer) of any strategic journey and is the total responsibility of the Senior Executive Team to facilitate. Leadership from the top-down has its risks and the most substantial one is not engaging sufficiently and earnestly with the Organization’s Culture. Most of this risk manifests in the multiple layers of management & supervision between the responsible executive and their front-line staff. Culture cannot be changed by edict (or fiat), but rather must be motivated to adapt by a compelling strategy that is lead from the top-down with substantial hands on activities by the executive team to make it real and essential to each staff worker who make up so much of the Organization’s Culture. This cannot be achieved by what is called Change Management. Change Management is little more than cheerleading and communications, with far too much focus on training. It is a poor (if not failed) substitute for truly engaged Leadership working in the trenches to instill & empower all of the front-line staff to embrace Big Data & Analytics and make it truly pervasive in  their daily activities and mindsets. Every Organization that has been successful at real Transformation knows well the requirement to engage with the Culture and to motivate it to not only Adopt the new operating model, but become “rabid fanatics” about its virtues along the journey. Big Data & Analytics Transformational Strategies are no different and if anything, offer unique opportunities to completely transform an Organization from backwards, gut-driven decisioning to one that leverages information & analytics at every turn to be not-only fact-based decision makers, but a true Predictive Enterprise.

To Transform your Organization to become a Predictive Enterprise where Big Data, Information, Analytics and a Fact-based Culture all are leveraged to achieve sustained Competitive Advantage, Disruptive Results  and Market Dominance requires; Top Down Leadership & Accountability, an Optimized Organizational Structure and an Evolved/Engaged Culture. If any of these are missing or sub-optimal then the Strategic Outcomes projected within anyone’s plans will not be realized.

I will write on these same themes as I provide live blogging from this coming week’s MIT Chief Data Officer (CDO) & Information Quality Symposium in Cambridge. The agenda is quite full of interesting opportunities to provide a contrarian viewpoint on CDO vs. Transformational Leadership

RL

PS: I am launching in August & September a new series of thought leadership articles in Information Age (www.information-age.com) and at Data Leadership 2014 (www.dataleadership.co.uk) on the notion of “The Data Leadership Nexus”. These are meant to be a logical extension to this blog series on Transformational Leadership. Here is an overview:

The Data Leadership Nexus is the intersection of Data, Information, Analytics & Leadership to create strategic impact, differentiation and enterprise value within every organization. It represents the single biggest opportunity/challenge in realizing the benefits that have been extoled (and often hyped) about Big Data and Advanced Analytics. It is also the linchpin for establishing “a culture of analytics” and making it pervasive across each enterprise and is clearly the most ignored strategic risk in virtually every organization.

In my last posting I outlined a pathway for Transformational Leaders to use in achieving pervasive Big Data & Analytics success within their organizations. In this installment I am going to focus on the specifics of Top Down Accountability by the entire Senior Executive Team as it leads these transformational efforts.

In spite of all the punditry regarding new management paradigms & leadership structures, the vast majority of all Public, Private & Non-Profit organizations remain hierarchical in structure and cultural behavior. This fact cannot be ignored when establishing both the Strategy for Big Data & Analytics Transformation (BDAT), as well as its execution plan. It is essential to success and If you choose not to leverage this dynamic or try to run counter to it you will fail to achieve any outcome of substance in my viewpoint.

The Senior Executive Team (SET) within each organization is typically organized around major functional elements of the operational model utilized. Strategic direction comes from the CEO & the Board and cascades down to the accountable Executives tasked with its execution and the successful realization of its outcomes. This well established dynamic becomes the means by which we truly transform legacy decision making (from gut-based to fact-focused), insights (minimal to maximal) and analysis (from backward-looking to predictive) to create a true analytics-driven enterprise. In this model, each Executive manifests Strategy Execution by using Big Data & Analytics pervasively across their domain of Accountability to maximize Outcomes. Responsible subordinates drive this down the hierarchy and embed it further into all of their Tactical & Operational endeavors with alignment horizontally. Front-line workers leverage & exploit the Organizations’ Big Data & Analytics operational activities daily.  To achieve this level of pervasiveness, all Senior Executives, subordinates & staff members must be fully committed to successful execution of the Strategy and competent in all the relevant aspects of the data & analytics which intersect with their area of responsibility. This cannot be delegated to  a 4th-level subordinate squirreled away somewhere in a cube who “gets it”. They all “must own it” and rise to the challenge through whatever means are available.

As mentioned previously mentorship, change management and formalized educational activities should be brought to bear in order to bootstrap all Accountable and Responsible Executives, Managers and Subordinates. This represents a major up-front investment by the Organization in the success of the transformational strategy and is a benchmark as to their true commitment to achieving its outcome.  Relying on Competency Centers, Centers of Excellence, Data Scientists, Chief Data Officers, Chief Analytics Officers and other proxies just will not cut it. If Enterprises are going to be successful with Big Data & Analytics then the Senior Executive Team must “walk the talk”. Nothing less will do.

This is clearly a major challenge & undertaking for the current generation of Senior Executives and a great number of their subordinates, but is should not be for the generation to follow. We all (Educators, Consultants, Advisors, Vendors, etc.) must work these transformational enterprises to insure that they develop the deep acumen and competencies within these future business leaders that we intersect with in our endeavors. We can no longer exclusively devote our time, energy and resources to those in the technology department as they are neither accountable or responsible in this future model. Their voice has been diminished and will not be heard at all unless they become more relevant to the more strategic conversation. For more on this see my July 2014 Information Age article (http://bit.ly/1sU3yol) on Leadership during the time of disruption.

In the end, No Enterprise will ever transform itself into a Big Data & Analytics Success unless the process is owned and executed by the Senior Executive Team from a top-down perspective. IT is powerless to achieve this outcome and it is delusional to think otherwise. The current generation of Senior Executives know their business models, competitive environment and organizational cultures well, but are hamstrung by the lack of formal education and competencies in Big Data & Analytics. This can be overcome with our assistance, but we should not lose sight of the end game which is the next generation of Transformational Business Leaders.

In the Final Installment on this topic (for now) I will focus on “Organizational Design & Cultural Adoption”. Stay tuned.

RL

 

 

 

 

Churchill_V_sign_HU_55521As many readers of my articles, blogs and other social media postings well know I am a strong advocate for Business Leaders taking full accountability for all of the Big Data & Analytics strategies & initiatives employed across their enterprises. This accountability manifests from the fact that they are not only positioned at the pinnacle of all strategic endeavors within their organization, but have full responsibility for the stewardship of all Assets as they are defined in both a tangible and intangible fashion. Having said this the $64,000 question that lingers is: “Are they prepared, much less competent enough to take on this accountability?”. The answer for the most part is a resounding NO.

Why is this? As I outlined in my June 2014 article in IBM Data Mag (http://bit.ly/1vvhwea) and April 2014 article in Information Age (http://bit.ly/1j16Vk6), the paramount issues regarding the successful adoption and exploitation of Big Data & Analytics are two-fold: Business Leadership Shortcomings & Lack of Cultural Adoption. Both are very much inter-related and one takes its cue from the other i.e. Culture follows Leadership for the most part. The articles speak to the specifics in more detail than what I will address here, but let me excerpt a few salient quotes;

  • “Today’s Executives & Managers are trained primarily in Operations, Finance, Marketing & Sales, along with a bit of Strategy thrown in for good measure. If you review the profiles of the vast majority of senior executives about 50% have an advanced degree in their field of expertise (MBA, JD, CPA, etc.) but virtually none have been schooled in Decision Science, Information Theory, Analytics or Risk Management.”
  • “Organizations’ remain hierarchical in both structure and cultural behavior today. To change either of these requires engaged & competent Senior Executive teams who are committed to the outcome and will influence & align behaviors to support it.”
  • “The Big Data & Analytics paradigm is based on the notion that Organizations must more fully exploit their information assets and move to a culture of fact-based & data-driven decisioning in order to create new sources of sustainable competitive advantage in a disruptive world around them. To accomplish this, you clearly must engage all elements of the organization, not just a select few. Everyone must make this cultural shift away from hierarchical thinking & “gut-based” decision making to one where the full hierarchy is empowered based on their role & responsibilities to perform analysis and to make decisions as close to the “customer” as possible”

Based on all of this, I will get back to the theme of this posting; “The need for true Transformational Leadership to insure the pervasive success of Big Data & Analytics”. This was the message that I hammered on during this week’s #CXOAnalytics tweetchat with Tom Davenport and John Lucker (Deloitte, who sponsored the tweet-up) and will continue to reinforce at the upcoming MIT #CDOIQ event as well as in my presentation at October’s “Data Leadership 2014” event in London (http://bit.ly/1wFl2n2). I cannot emphasize to everyone enough that we are not going to solve this challenge by appointing Chief Data Officers, Chief Digital Officers, etc. to act as “Communicators and Influencers” between the IT Organization, Risk Management and Business Leadership. No matter what the pundits say and prognosticate, it is not a sustainable model and distracts from the true issue at hand – “Getting Business Leaders to rise to their Accountabilities”.

In my management consulting experience, much less as an executive in senior roles across my career, I have never seen Business Leaders shrink away from the opportunity to take on more and more strategic responsibilities in order to grow their portfolios as well as to deliver transformational results to their business. So why are they not taking ownership of Big Data & Analytics? We know that they are out there cheerleading these efforts based on customer testimonials and event presentations, but virtually none of these same folks “own, much less are fully accountable for its success (or failure)”. Most continue to leave this to IT or some surrogate. I believe that this is due to a lack of any fundamental competency, acumen and mastery in information theory, data science and analytics which leaves them extremely deficient in confidence, vision and leadership potential. In other words, “You cannot lead if you don’t understand what it is you are asked to lead”.

To overcome this we must take actions in the following areas;

1.- Define, Fund & Execute – Mentoring, Coaching and Instructional Programs to bootstrap the current generation of Business Leaders up the level of knowledge (and confidence) required to Lead existing Big Data & Analytics endeavors.

2.- Identify candidates for Next Generation Leadership roles and Mentor & Educate them to advanced levels of competency and acumen such that as they mature into more senior roles they have both the foundation in Big Data & Analytics required, but the hands-on leadership skills (and organizational knowledge) to succeed.

3. – Engage with the Organization’s Culture at Large to make the Big Data & Analytics Vision and its exploitation “Job No.1” for everyone. This engagement requires not only top-down leadership to drive it, but appropriate Change Management and Organizational Design experts to facilitate Cultural Adoption in the Transformed Organization.

These three points each merit a number of detailed follow-up postings which i will focus on for the balance of this Summer, but I did want to live up to the spirt of my title; you need “Transformational Leadership to achieve Big Data & Analytics Success”.

Cheers,

RL


2014 IBM Champions for Information Management

The IBM Champion Program recently announced its list of 2014 Participants. I was very pleased to hear that I had been chosen for the 2nd year as a Champion for Information Management, joining 200+ of my IM peers across the world as well as other Champions representing Analytics, Rational and other key domains. I promise to work even harder than last year to support perspective & existing InfoSphere customers in their Information Management endeavors as they work to leverage their Small & Big Data with Advanced Analytics to create compelling sources of Competitive Advantage and points of differentiation in their market space.

I will report in along the way to let you know how the Program is going this year and if I can be of any assistance to those who are contemplating using components or the entire suite of InfoSphere products please feel free to reach out to me.

Richard

May in the UK

April 26, 2014 — Leave a comment

I will be leaving for the UK on May 3rd to spend a month in London and the Scottish Highlands. I am hopeful for good weather in both locations as it has been so miserable here in Seattle this past Spring and Winter.

During my stay in London I will be participating in the following Conferences/Events:

1.- The Chief Data Officer Summit at the Kensington Close Hotel (http://www.chiefdataofficersummit.com/) (held in conjunction w/ Data Today). I will be tweeting from the event representing Information Age and writing an article on the event for Information Age readers.

2.- The Software Defined Anything Symposium – SDx at the Langham Hotel (http://www.information-age.com/node/50422). I will be keynoting on the topic of “Privacy Engineering for a Software Defined World”. See my article in the May issue of Information Age for a preview of my comments.

3.- OVUM’s Industry Congress 2014 at the Victoria Park Plaza ( http://www.ovumindustrycongress.com ). I will be there with my Information Age hat on and will be tweeting from seminars on Data Management & Data Governance, Digital Strategies and Others topics

4.- Insurance Strategies Perspective – Solvency II Event (http://www.insurancestrategyperspectives.com/news/?page_id=25) – Central LondonI will be there to hear the latest from UK/EU Thought Leaders on the Solvency II Scheme.

Additionally, I will be meeting with colleagues from the Strategic Planning Society, the Strategic Management Forum, Source for Consulting & PCG as well as a number of Business Transformation consultancies. I am looking forward to talking shop with a number of seasoned leaders and practitioners in this space of the consulting market.

Following on to my two-weeks in London are two weeks up in Scotland where I am staying at Bob Dylan’s Highland Estate, Aultmore. (http://www.aultmoreestate.com/) in my favorite village of Nethy Bridge (where I lived in 2006-2007). I will be climbing some Munros, visiting Glencoe and Atlantic Salmon fishing for a week on the Middle Spey at Craigellachie (http://www.fishpal.com/Scotland/Spey/Craigellachie/) with Ghillie, Dougie Ross. This will be the highlight of my trip for sure. Stay tuned for updates and photos of all “The Springers” that I catch (and release) during my fishing.

Finally, I am going to do a detailed study on the new range of Macallan 1824 Series Single Malts (http://www.themacallan.com/the-whisky/the-1824-series/). It just happens that The Macallan distillery is across the River Spey from the Craigellachie fishing beats so…. I will report in on my study as it progresses.

Sláinte

MIT PhotoLast Weeks’ MIT Chief Data Officer and Information Quality Summit was a social media bonanza given the wide rage of coverage and groundswell of advocacy coming from all the camps who have a vested interest in seeing the concept of the “Data Czar” come to fruition. It was no less feverish of an event than those focused on Big Data or the role of the Data Scientist. It was truly an interesting spectacle to observe. I look forward to attending the next one of these “data fests” in the coming months.

As promised in my earlier postings on the Summit here is my Summary in the form of “Five Key Takeaways”

1.- There is no agreement as to “What is a Chief Data Officer?” It is an amorphous role description and has been designed to invoke thought rather than to define just what this executive should be Accountable and Responsible for in the grand scheme of things.

“Data is not stuff. It is the lifeblood of your enterprise and the Business is fully accountable for its Management and Leadership”

2.- A cross-sectional view of the CDO’s in attendance at the event (and a sampling of those not) indicates to me that this is (unfortunately) an IT role in most enterprises who have adopted it so far. This is disappointing, but not a surprise, given the lack of accountability for Information Management that most business leaders have failed to assume.

“IT is neither a seat of power nor influence in today’s enterprise. It is a cost center responsible for Service Delivery”

3.- Regulatory Compliance continues to be the dominant focus for all CDO Discussions and Activities. Keeping their CEO from being broadcast live during their “perp walk in his/her orange jumpsuit” for failure to accurately report on SARBOX, Dodd-Frank, Basel III, etc. is the major motivation for most CDO’s in Financial Services today.

“Risk and Compliance activities can be sources of Competitive Advantage for many enterprises if addressed as “strategic and core” rather than “necessary and evil” by the Organization and its Data/Information strategists and practitioners”

4.- MIT at large is studying (and experimenting with) the Chief Data Officer phenomena very closely. Using “Big Data” sources such as Interviews, Surveys and Social Media they are building a very detailed view (and analysis) of “The What and the Why” around the CDO and Data Scientist frenzies. Their “Cube” model (see my last posting) is a very interesting endeavor in respect to behavioral analysis and the tenants of good organizational design.

“To design a future state Organization focused on creating and embedding a culture of Information Management, Exploitation and Stewardship within it requires a deep understanding of the psyche of the current organization and its ability to change and adapt”

5.- The MIT CDO and Information Quality Summit has its roots in the study and analysis of Data Quality. It has been around for many years now and has only recently added the context of “Chief Data Officer” to its remit. However, the need to radically improve Data Quality has never been more paramount across all enterprises. We have yet to take this matter seriously and continue to treat it as a downstream activity or more cynically as “A hazard of doing business”. The more that we focus on the bright shiny objects of Big Data, Data Scientists, Chief Data Officers, etc. the less that we want to sustain the need to be ever-vigilant on improving Data Quality over the entire lifecycle for Information. We seem to have relegated ourselves to creating more of the same low quality data to attempt to analyze and make decisions from.

“Fundamentally, most data used by Organizations for Decision Making, Reporting and Insights/Analysis is suspect at best. We don’t understand its Provenance and resist all forms of Governance in terms of acceptable usage and behavior”.

As a final note, I will be writing a series of articles on the Chief Data Officer role for Information Age ( http://www.information-age.com/ ) over the coming months as well as speaking on it at upcoming industry events in the US & UK.

Stay Tuned!

I have watched with considerable interest and bemusement the feigned outrage and posturing by many segments of the population since the revelations of the NSA’s global SIGINT programs. I find it all amusing at best given how little everyone has paid attention to fact that their Privacy began eroding back in the ’80’s and has diminished to Near Zero at this point. It is hard to believe that everyone should be so upset about something that they lost (or abdicated) such a long time ago (for many, before they were even born) and yet now are just realizing it. Nonetheless, perhaps these events and all of the spleen venting that continues to go on about them will start a dialog about “The Illusion of Privacy”.

Privacy is a state of mind (like Trust) that cannot be quantified or regulated in the world that we live in today. Virtually every consumer has abdicated their Privacy Rights by signing one EULA after another with their Service & Software Providers for all of the “apps, gadgets & devices” that they require to support their daily lives. Has anyone (besides Lawyers) ever read one of these before clicking Accept? Doubtful, I imagine and if you did read it what are your options? Decline is not one of them.

In the end we all must develop more Situational Awareness. If you fall into the trap of complacency and believe that there will be no consequences to anything that you post, write or say then you are truly the fool. We should all embrace the notion of “Low Tech” Face-to-Face (F2F) communications from inside our own personal SCIF’s (Secure Compartmentalized Information Facilities) aka our converted bomb shelters (for those who grew up during the Cold War). This is probably the only means of Privacy that we still have available.

Embrace the horror that we have created in our zeal for technology and for having abandoned our individual roles in checking the power and growth of Government intrusion in our daily lives.

Until next time.

My year on the IBM Champion Roller Coaster has started to pick up speed. I have been supporting the Big Data marketing teams with several activities recently. The two most visible are;

Big Data Bytes – May 31

May 31, 2013 2:00 PM ET

Big Data Bytes is a weekly videochat where we look at some of the hot articles, blog posts, and social chatter about topics related to big data. For Friday, May 31, our guests will be Richard Lee (@InfoMgmtExec) and Tom Deutsch (@thomasdeutsch). Richard has been a Management Consultant for more than 30 years and speaks at conferences around the world on key business issues related to Enterprise Information Management & Data Governance. Tom is big data program director at IBM and co-author of the popular books Understanding Big Data and Harness the Power of Big Data.

What the video chat LIVE on ibmbigdatahub.com/BigDataBytes

Follow and join in on Twitter using hashtag #BigDataBytes

I am looking forward to my chat with Tom Deutsch tomorrow (Friday)

 

IBM Big Data Hub (a Google+ Forum/Hangout)

https://plus.google.com/111782494410500764298/posts

I have a conversation with on the topic of “Operations Analysis”

  • Christy Maver IBM Big Data Product Marketing Manager

If you have time check these out and let me know what you think.

Stay tuned for my next installment where I write about my First 30-days as an IBM Champion

PS – Follow #IBMChampions on Twitter for more frequent updates.

 

Late last week I learned that I have been selected as a 2013 IBM Information Management Champion (in addition to my current role of being a “Social Media Influencer”). It is a high honor for me to represent such a great program and to join an esteemed group of peers. Each of us brings a unique perspective to the disciplines of Information Management, Analytics & Information Governance which we use to help extol the benefits of the InfoSphere portfolio to our clients and colleagues. I very much look forward to strongly participating in the program and will be speaking at a number of events in the coming months in my capacity as a Champion as well as working on a daily basis to help bring insights and capabilities to clients working with various elements of the InfoSphere portfolio. I promise to use my Blog to highlight interesting Case Studies and Anecdotes over the coming year. Stay Tuned!

IBM Champions Program