CHAPTER 11Pulling It All Together: Building an Analytical Organization

All models are wrong... but some are useful!

—George E. P. Box

The final piece of the puzzle is execution. Now that I have convinced you of the many, many opportunities to apply analytics in your organization, the natural next question is “How do I get started?” (Or, if you’ve read all of my chapters closely, you might say: “Okay, fine, I get it, I bought a data visualization package, now what?”) There are a few decisions that need to be made as you grow your analytic capability. None of the initial decisions you make need to be permanent, but they do need to be thought through carefully. You will want to pick an organizational structure that makes sense for your company and current resources. You need to decide in what functional area you want to get started and with what project, and also build a roadmap for the next several years. The roadmap should include the problems you want to tackle, but also your technology and capability strategy, whether you want to partner with vendors or consultants, or whether you want to build everything yourself—or maybe it’s a mix.

Much of this chapter will be dedicated to providing you with the pros and cons of various options for these decisions. There are a few best practices, but in most cases, there’s no exact right answer. Most organizations I’ve worked with have adjusted their philosophies, structures, and strategies as the business and their capabilities evolved. I ...

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