Chapter 6

The People Part of the Equation

In the end, it all comes down to people. The best of intentions can go awry if the goals of the analytics professionals and the end business consumers are not aligned. This is even more critical given the highly iterative nature of analytics, which demands that generators and consumers work closely on a continuous basis. The three major activities that must occur to ensure success are:

1. Organizational alignment. The leaders need to define business priorities and problems to be solved and define road maps that are time-bound but at the same time measurable and achievable. As intuitive as it may seem, without focus and direction, no processes or technology will make a difference.
2. Executive endorsement and sponsorship. It is important for the leadership team to endorse fact-based decision making and identify champions for consumption of analytics. Consumption also requires a lot of walking the aisles, socializing the insights, and maneuvering the dynamics across various business groups. Without conscious focus on these activities, the visually rich reports or sophisticated statistical models will not drive any real business value.
3. Investing in analytical human capital. The organization needs to mobilize resources required for analytics and hire the right talent and retain them. There is an increasing demand for analysts who can learn new skills as the situation demands, be it math, business, or technology.

In today’s business world, ...

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