Gartner says that 87% of Organizations Have Low BI and Analytics Maturity. One of the primary reasons for this low analytics adoption has been the lack of effective leadership. A strong leadership sets the battleground for a resounding victory. On the other hand, if uncertainty from the top exists concerning the endeavour, then it can plunge the initiative into stagnation.
Driving successful analytics adoption through the enterprise requires the organizations to treat analytics as an innovation capability, not merely a function. The leader will set the tone with an active sponsorship and change management.
There are so many moving pieces within the whole analytics initiative, which if not properly managed, can throw the entire plan into disarray
Leadership will set the mandate to democratize analytics and phase out the processes that are detrimental to its success.
According to McKinsey, the lack of qualified leadership in analytics has been one of the most significant shortcomings in the attempts by companies in deriving the optimal return on their investments.
Why are companies moving to adopt analytics?
Companies are rapidly investing in developing their analytics capabilities to gain a competitive edge.
For instance, a product company can use customer and market analysis to understand where they are performing well, which areas within their business needs to be improved and how are they going to plan their go-to-market strategy.
The management and leadership within a company stand most to benefit from an analytics project. Transparency in numbers and metrics helps them to understand what areas need to be improved and what changes are required.
Barriers to Success With Analytics
1. Data Silos – If there is no standardization in how data is sourced and consumed, then it will be difficult to trust the insights derived from the analytics platform. The quality of output and insights directly depends upon the quality of data fed into the system
2. Lack of User Skills to Use the Platform – If the users are not well- trained to use the system, then they may lose the motivation to adopt. Many technical skills are needed to use the analytics framework properly- sourcing data from various application systems, creating models to finally communicating with insightful visualizations.
3. Lack of Program Governance – Governance is needed to ensure that strategy is aligned with the organizational objectives, and to create a plan on how different users and departments are going to collaborate and share the data assets. Without strong governance, the program can lose its directions amidst unstructured feedbacks and perceived project uncertainties.
4. Lack of clear corporate mandate – Unless the corporate rolls out the precise mandate and makes it crystal clear that analytics is going to be the way forward, the project can run into a lot of friction and fail to win over the naysayers and sceptics convincingly.
Where is leadership needed?
Introducing analytics into the organization’s culture can be highly disruptive, and therefore, it would require strong leadership that unites all the stakeholders behind a solid strategy.
Many people might feel threatened and might have biases and prejudices against it. If these are not effectively countered, then they can prove fatal and undermine the whole initiative.
Here, leadership plays an irreplaceable role – to manage the change and to bring the sceptics over to your side.
It is only by successfully managing the change that you will be able to derive the optimal Return on Investments.
Analytics has several essential components. The role of leadership is to get everyone behind the common goals and make the change occur.
Active leadership is needed around the following lines.
1. Crafting a winning strategy and getting the organization behind – Change management is very crucial for enterprises to succeed with analytics. People don’t always like change, and therefore definite change management will often require strong leadership. In the absence of a strong driving force behind the program, it can become challenging to get everyone on board and forming an action team around the analytics project. Leadership is essential to deliver active commandments. It is for this reason that the role of the Chief Analytics Officer is coming into the spotlight. They will need to think beyond the math, towards effectively breaking down the organizational barriers and resistances. Clear communication is also going to be very important to share the vision and the reason for the change to win the trust of the doubters.
2. Designing the rewards & recognitions program – Rewards programme will create a strong motivation for the entire plan. Leaders will need to understand what kind of motivations and rewards work the best and ensure that the early adopters are motivated The right mix of gamification will reinforce the organization’s vision and induce more people to adjust to the change within their workflows.
3. Nominating the right people to the governance team – The leadership will need to understand the right mix of skills that will be required on the governance team. They must appoint the most suitable set of people- cross-functional and agile, to that role. It will help the committee to benefit from the extensive knowledge, wisdom and skills.
4. Democratizing Analytics – Resistance to change will need to be managed. Leaders can ensure this by putting out the mandate to sunset the existing processes that are using excel and other traditional methods. Sunset of the current MIS process is very important. Executives must roll-out a cut off period after which the new analytics platform will only support decisions and reviews. Analytics may result in the status quo could being challenged within the organization and strong leadership will help to diffuse the tension.
5. Devising the right training program – People will need to upgrade and improve their existing skills to benefit from this program. Right analytics leadership will ensure that proper training programs are in place to ensure that the people who are going to use analytics will be appropriately enabled to utilize the platforms. The leadership must involve the right training partners and ensures that the training outcomes are aligned with the program objectives.
We can see multiple areas where strong leadership will help nurture a robust change management programme. Strong leadership mandate that leads the initiative with clear communication will be vital to success.
As McKinsey states, the role of today’s Chief Analytics Officer is to act as the “Catalyst of Change” and not just be the creator of roadmap and strategy. This role requires them to deliver the diplomacy to address the organization stumbling blocks, build a coalition, and ensure a pragmatic approach that will provide the business impact.
At Polestar, we are an enterprise analytics partner of choice, and we have delivered successful analytics projects for over 120 clients, ranging from early age startups to Fortune 500 giants. We focus on maximizing our client’s ROI by upskilling and enabling the enterprises with change management and strong program governance capabilities.
About Tushar: Mr. Tushar Sonal is a Senior Technology Analyst & Lead Blogger at Polestar Solutions & Services India Pvt Ltd. He has worked in the sales as well as marketing arm of our company and brings a unique perspective towards the analytics project delivery and major factors that differentiate a successful implementation from a failed one. He likes to read and blog about emerging technology trends and how the companies are riding this technological disruption to innovate the way they operate.