Are you constantly having to justify your businesses analytics program to business leaders? Or are you working at a corporation that recognizes the business intelligence ROI that an Analytics program delivers, and is constantly demanding more?
For the majority of program managers the former is true and that means continuously promoting analytics to ensure that business users are leveraging the insights that the data provides. By leveraging analytics, the business can better meet customers’ needs and wants while remaining current and relevant in the marketplace.
The problem, however, is that certain integral IT roles, that provide critical data insight and analysis, are not leveraged by the business. Their importance in day to day processes often goes unrealized. As a result, it becomes hard for the business and in particular program managers, to justify certain strategies and tactics. Furthermore, if you as a program manager have difficulty justifying your program to your business leaders, they can prevent the proper funding and resources from being allocated to keep the program running smoothly, and thus impede critical business operations from moving forward.
In order to create more awareness on the importance of analytics, program managers and IT need to promote the analytics program internally so that every employee is aware of why and how it is being used as well as the benefits it can offer to their individual team and the business as a whole.
Basics of Promoting an Analytics Program
The first step in promoting an analytics program is to understand your business. That means you need to identify the needs and wants of your company’s customers; evaluate the products, services, and programs that your company offers to those customers; and determine which target markets the organization can serve best. In other words, understand what is guiding your organization.
Secondly, it is important to remember that you manage a product with supporting services that are of value to the organization. Those services also need to be managed over time (like any standalone business function would). You need to work closely with users to understand how they are using the system according to their different roles, and what features they wish they had to better support their work. Even if the new Analytics functionality you produce seems really cool to you, if it’s not what users want (and thus won’t use it), then it was pointless to create it in the first place.
Here are some additional key tactics that your analytics program management team can implement in order to better infuse analytics into everyday business processes:
Generate Awareness: Do people in your organization know who you are or how to access the Analytics service? Following a consistent communication schedule will help people more quickly recognize your name, and what help and support you can provide them. Share the new features that are now available in the system, or success stories on what problems analytics helped resolve, etc. Also, basic how-to guides are excellent resources for people who need a refresher on what the system offers, as well as to help new team members get up-to-speed quickly.
Know Thy Business: Do you understand what the business is now, and the roadmap for the future? In what markets does your company hope to eventually sell its products/services? Defining the development path for both your analytics system and the overall analytics program, so that it aligns with the company’s business roadmap, will ensure that the analytics team is always working on creating a system that has full capability to handle new business directives.
Collect User Feedback: Feedback is a crucial way to ensure that your analytics function remains relevant and that your business users value their analytics system. Collecting user feedback also helps to keep analytics “top of mind,” which is another important factor in maximizing system usage. Keeping track of, and then synthesizing, user feedback is a great card to have in your back pocket when senior leadership questions you on how different team members are applying analytics to their jobs.
Perform Market Research: Anticipate demand, if possible, via market research. Understanding how competing companies are using analytics systems to their advantage, as well as how new industry trends are making an impact on analytics processes, will enhance the value of your analytics program. This will further the case for analytics being seen as an important strategic tool.
Create Visualizations: Creating the proper dashboards, charts, and other data visualizations that help C-suite executives track performance metrics will keep the C-suite invested in your analytics program. It is the trickle-down effect – if they use analytics and get value from it, then they will push for its adoption throughout the company.
The goal of promoting your analytics program is to build value-based relationships with your team members, in conjunction with other internal and external business units. The end-result is gaining important insights by understanding business user needs and finding solutions of superior value, quality, and service that are readily adopted across business units.
As a consultant working with analytics product managers, I always advise that it is vital to have a prepared plan to justify the existence of your analytics program. If you realize this early and demonstrate the business intelligence ROI that it provides, it is possible to proactively establish valuable, two-way communication with the analytics users in your organization. And having well-organized and meaningful information to back it up is worth its weight in gold. This effectively amounts to doing business intelligence on business intelligence.
Have further questions on how to better promote your internal analytics program? Contact us to discuss additional strategies or to learn more about Hitachi Solutions’ BI assessment.