So, how do you get your analysts to pull their heads up from the data and focus on the business? It’s not always an easy task, and it’s a bit of art and a science. Based on our combined 40 years of experience in analyzing data, as well as input we received from researching best practices of other analytical professionals, we have developed and used a practical framework to guide you through the process of ensuring that your analysts are insightful business partners, rather than just purveyors of data. We call this the IMPACT cycle (see Exhibit 5.1). During the remainder of this chapter, we provide an outline of the IMPACT cycle, as well as examples of it in action.

Exhibit 5.1 The IMPACT Cycle


In an effort to drive the point home to analysts that they really need to think as much about what their customers want as they do about the data, one of the coauthors, Jesse Harriott, sometimes relays two examples from seemingly unrelated disciplines in order to get the analysts thinking about how they can best serve their customers as analytical professionals. This exercise can be done individually or in a group setting. First, he asks them to think about a time that went really well when they needed to take their car to a mechanic for service. He then asks them to relate that experience and describe what made it successful. He repeats back what he hears to the person ...

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