In conjunction with a webinar that I am participating in on 2/29 ( ZD & IBM – “Get More from your Data: How Business Analytics Gives You a Competitive Advantage”), I am posting a series of four blogs entitled “Business Analytics and the Mid-Market“.
(To attend my webinar on 2/29, Register at: http://b2b.ziffdavis.com/webcasts/improve-performance-your-data-business-analytics/?tfso=10480 )
This is Final installment (No. 4).in that series; ”
To recap from my previous 3 postings;
- Business Analytics (BA) is “the use of data & analysis techniques to understand your business in a a way that facilitates better decision making”. BA is “fact-based decision-making in real-time based upon a 360 degree view of the business. It portends to offer the highest potential for competitive advantage of any strategic enabler (much less tactical or operational) available in the business leaders portfolio today, much less the future.
- To achieve true Competitive Advantage (CA) one must embrace the notion of Business Analytics in a holistic fashion in order to create “a pervasive culture of analysis and numerical literacy”. The 5 components of a holistic approach are; People, Processes, Technology, Culture & Data
- To achieve competitive advantage (via differentiation), much less sustain it, Organizations must make Business Analytics a core competency and foster its deep usage across all domains of the business. Business Analytics must be made pervasive across the organization
- Critical to the successful creation of Competitive Advantage is the role of the Business Analytics Strategy. It should encompass all domains of your business and support the 5 Pillars (People, Processes, Technology, Culture & Data) of a holistic approach to Business Analytics.
- A successful Business Analytics Strategy (BAS) is one that is fully-aligned and synergistic with the Organizations’ Long-Term Strategy (3-5 years) and companion Near-Term Strategic Goals & Outcomes (1-2 years).
- The key to developing your Business Analytics Strategy is to find the entry and inflection points in your strategy’s execution where BA can be embedded and used as either a catalyst or an accelerator for success.
- The value of having an Analytics Partner (AP) in this process is substantial and in the early stages of any organizations’ journey to Analytics Maturity they can make the difference between success and disappointment, much less outright failure.
“Choosing an Analytics Trusted Advisor to support your BA Strategic Planning Process”
At this point we have established that pervasive Business Analytics (BA) can be a game changer for every Organization. To achieve Competitive Advantage (CA) from Business Analytics you need a well defined Strategy that aligns all BA activities and outcomes with the Business Goals & Objectives (BG&O) defined in both the long-term and near-term strategies & tactics of the Organization. This alignment should be across all major domains of the Business/Organization. Fostering and leveraging synergies found in core information assets into Analytical Focus Areas that benefit the entire organization is the cornerstone of such a Business Analytics Strategy.
Developing a BAS requires collaboration and partnership with an Analytics Trusted Advisor in the vast majority of cases. Most organizations in the Mid-Market do not have the depth of personnel or base of applied experience required to create a comprehensive Business Analytics Strategy internally. Staff efforts are mainly focused on Operational Performance and Innovation Activities and not on strategy endeavors, therefore justifying the need for a Trusted Advisor as being paramount to success. Choosing a BA Trusted Advisor is an early step in your Analytics Journey (AJ) and should be done after a thorough and rigorous interview & selection process. There are many Business Intelligence consultancies who claim to be as good at Business Analytics, but one should be wary of such claims. Although the worlds of Information Management (IM), Business Intelligence (BI) and Business Analytics are merging together at many levels, the expertise required to develop a successful Business Analytics Strategy is limited to a small community of Consultancies and Suppliers. In most cases you will have to take a long-term view of the partner whom you choose in the context of not only helping you to develop your BA Strategy, but ultimately helping you to acquire & deploy the necessary solutions & capabilities required to insure that the strategic outcomes successfully achieved. The Business Analytics Trusted Advisor will provide support in developing, testing and optimizing early Analytical Models & Data Sets. All of these activities will be complimented with an effective plan & activity set for Change Management & Cultural Adoption for your Organization. A holistic approach to your overall Business Analytics Strategy and its successful execution requires a long-term view of achieving success and the support of Trusted Advisor whom can provide all of these types of services to the levels required.
Choosing your Analytics Trusted Advisor does not need to be an arduous process. It could be as simple as engaging with an existing partner or conducting a quick survey of the leaders in the Business Analytics space who have focus areas on your type of business (Mid-Market) and industry segment (Service Providers, Software/Technology, Retail, etc.). The market leaders will all have consulting teams & solution sets optimized for the specifics of your size & type, as well as having a deep portfolio of critical enablers for Business Analytics success e.g Strategy Templates, Specific Analytics Solution sets (Customer, Finance, Corporate Performance, etc.), Change Management collateral, Information Governance guidelines, etc. All of these elements will be required over the long haul as you move from Strategy to Execution t0 Outcomes. Additionally, your BA Trusted Advisor will bring an overall discipline to the overall approach by helping you to focus on early quick wins in your Analytics Journey, as you change your culture to being an Analytics-Driven one over time. The depth and maturity of your BA Trusted Advisors appraoch to achieving such outcomes while reducing risk to a manageable level is a Critical Success Factor that every organization should look from in their partner(s).
In the end, each Organization must define the criteria and process for choosing and engaging with an Analytics Trusted Advisor. Going it alone is fraught with risks and should only be advocated if the Organization believes that it has the depth of experience and know-how to achieve Analytics Success on their own. In choosing your Advisor one must look for a leader who has made/demonstrated a commitment to supporting Organizations of your size, ambitions and market focus. Only a handful of Consultancies/Suppliers in the marketplace rise to this level of distinction.
For more information on one such Trusted Advisor in the market (IBM), please check out the following links;