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Research & Advisory Network: May Trending Topics

Welcome to this month’s trending topics update!

IIA is in the fortunate position of working with some of the most influential Fortune 1000 analytics teams. On a daily basis we partner with these teams to accelerate the progress on their most pressing projects and initiatives. Collectively, we’ve worked with these analytics professionals on a couple thousand topics over the years and thought it could be helpful to the broader analytics community to begin sharing some of those topics.

So, without further ado, here are some recent examples from real RAN clients:

Topic 1:

Trying to figure out how to tamp down demand for BI-related report generation and single SQL pulls, to allow resources to be redirected to truly advanced analytics efforts.

Summary: Culture is really challenging to change. Many of our clients have been in existence for over a hundred years, which means they’ve found ways of being incredibly successful even before you tried to convince them that analytics can make a further positive impact. So, if they (a) believe descriptive and diagnostic analyses are analytics (b) are used to asking for those “analytics” already and (c) have incorporated those analyses into their business practices, then you have a BI demand in your information economy. Overcoming such a state is obviously multifaceted but includes some tactics such as requiring each report request be accompanied by a business question that the data is intended to inform — understanding those business challenges is core to making any change in this problem state because the closer you get to WHAT your internal clients are trying to solve, the further away you can move from their thoughts on HOW to solve those problems.

Topic 2:

Applying a prioritization to projects that allows the analytics team to align with working on the right efforts without burning bridges with some internal clients or burning out the team by doing the same things repeatedly.

Summary: Our experience seeing companies that run into challenges with project prioritization is that they’ve done a very good job already proving the value of advanced analytics and as a result are suffering on the other side of those problems from clients addressing Topic 1 above. Demand is high, and the problem state is figuring out which projects to do. Commonalities we’ve seen in those addressing this challenge well are (a) making their prioritization criteria public — if everyone knows what gets something to the top of the list, it is harder to argue when your project doesn’t make it if it addresses other priorities. It also creates a subtle competitive culture in your demand side to make sure their projects reflect value better than others in order to be worked on and (b) save room in your project list for those innovative efforts — this keeps your team engaged, which helps with retention and expands their competencies, allowing you to continue growing your team’s value.

These couple may not track with what you're working on, but hopefully are interesting to see what others are up to in this small community of analytics professionals that we all work in.

Till next month!

— Doug

Doug Mirsky, PhD, Vice President, has been with IIA for 4 years and leads IIA's Research and Advisory Network (RAN) service line. IIA's RAN provides clients with access to the world's largest analytics-focused expert network; a resource designed to accelerate analytics teams' progress against their projects and initiatives. Doug has over two decades of executive and business strategy experience with hyper-growth companies focused on financial services, healthcare and technology.