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In my last post, I laid out the notion of The Data Leadership Nexus and its five basic components;

  • Top-Down Leadership (by the Senior Executive Team)
  • Data, Information & Analytics
  • Organizational Culture 

I will discuss the most important component of The Data Leadership Nexus in this posting entitled, “Leadership Requirements in the Predictive Enterprise”. 

Much has been written about the criticality of strong Leadership. It is an essential requirement to becoming a Predictive Enterprise. One of the foremost thinkers on Leadership, Warren Bennis passed away just last month (July 2014). He chronicled the attributes and characteristics of “The Modern Leader” in his many books on the subject, but his basic conclusion (in my words) on the role of Leadership was; “We can neither transform, nor reach successful strategic outcomes without strong and effective Leadership from the Top Down”. It is on this point alone that I continue to bristle against the growing advocacy for “Chief Whatever Officers”.

No matter the domain (data, data protection, data security, analytics, digital, etc.), I do not agree with the constant drumbeat to appoint a “czar” to fix (or enhance) a function which is the direct accountability of the Senior Executive Team (whom I will refer to as the SET going forward). What is required here is to address the data, information & analytics shortcomings of the Current Generation of Senior Executives in respect to the Key Attributes of; Education, Acumen, Competency & Operational Experience such that they (and only them) can take assume their critical (and natural) role in the The Data Leadership Nexus. We cannot continue to run away from the real problem as to why we are not realizing the benefits from 50+ years of investing inordinately in data, information & (most recently) analytics. Clearly, the CIO (in all forms and incarnations) has not been able to accomplish this and no type of proxy will be able to be successful either. It is simply a waste of precious time and resources to go down this path (CDO, CAO, etc.) and then discover it didn’t work (once again).

Let’s get started. As some of you may have gathered from my recent article in IBM’s Data Magazine ( http://bit.ly/1vvhwea ) the vast majority of today’s Senior Executives do not have all (or even some) of these major attributes in their favor when it comes to Data Leadership. Suffice it to say that these were not essential as they climbed the organizational ladder and honed their Executive skills over the past several decades. However, because of these shortcomings they now find themselves acting as cheerleaders for strategies and capabilities that they do not really understand in detail, nor can lead from a position of strength. This has lead to the use of a crutch by appointing “a czar” (proxy) or being too timid altogether in pursuing sound strategies and outcomes (i.e. limited capital & manpower investments, short-term benefits realization horizons, being “gun shy” of risks, etc.). This short-sightedness has not compensated for their lack of Education, Acumen, Competency & Operational Experience in data, information & analytics and  is subjecting them to the fundamental executive shortcoming of: “You can’t lead (to success) what you don’t understand”.  How we overcome this challenge is the critical path to success in achieving the Leadership component of The Data Leadership Nexus.

The most immediate path to overcoming these Leadership challenges is to bootstrap all of the required attributes for each member of the Senior Executive Team via Mentoring, Coaching, Advisory activities and Academies/Boot Camps. Time is precious with each of these SET members so a personalized plan must be developed and executed in a fashion that demonstrates real-time progress and an acceleration of results to get to a level of capabilities and understandings consistent of the needs for true Data Leadership. These plans will then have a long-range view in order to maximize and sustain results. There are many Boutique Tier 1 & Tier 2 consultancies who have the practice capabilities to fill these requirements for their clients. Most realize, along with myself that it is essential to transfer the required domain knowledge and skills to SET members to achieve strategic success for the Client Organization. At the end of the day, The Client must lead with Advisors/Consultants providing a supporting role in the background. While these boundaries blur at times, it is the most proven path to success in both the short and long haul.

Most importantly we must better prepare the Next Generation of Executives for their own Data Leadership roles by baking all of these same attributes into every aspect of their personal and professional development activities such that they too can assume the mantle of leadership when it is their time and be fully prepared (and tested in advance) for it.

It’s a challenge to provide the necessary detail of the path forward in a short posting, but I hope that I have conveyed not only the necessity of Top Down Data Leadership, but the urgency of addressing the current shortcomings in today’s Senior Executive Teams such that they can assume this accountability along with all of the others they currently have.

In my next posting I will jump down our list of Basic Components to #5 – Organizational Culture. It is a companion to Top Down Data Leadership and is the reflection of how effective and persuasive that the Senior Executive Team is in both articulating and ultimately executing the Organizations’ Data, Information & Analytics Strategies & Tactics. Look for this next posting sometime soon.

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

I will be writing an article each month going forward in these three publications to help promote awareness and to foster action on the subjects of Privacy, Strategy & Governance. I hope that all of you will follow these conversations and add your comments wherever possible. 

1.- Information Age Magazine (UK) – “Resident Columnist”  ( http://www.information-age.com )

2.- IBM Big Data & Analytics Hub – “The Privacy Corner” ( http://www.ibmbigdatahub.com )

3.- IBM Data Magazine – “The Contrarian View” ( http://www.ibmdatamag.com )

Additionally, I will be in the UK for the entire month of May and while there will be participating in two major conferences;

  • The Software Defined Everything Symposium ( http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/software-defined-sdx-symposium-tickets-5409142892 ) where I will be presenting a keynote on “Privacy by Design for a Software Defined World”
  • The Chief Data Officers Summit ( http://www.chiefdataofficersummit.com/ ) where I will be providing “The Contrarian Viewpoint” throughout the conference. 

Richard

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;

http://www-01.ibm.com/software/analytics/excellence-center/

http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/bao/

http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/thoughtleadership/ibv-embedding-analytics.html