The key to business impact, and often the most difficult task, lies in the ability of your business analytics team to take raw data and turn it into a compelling narrative that addresses specific business challenges and results in business action. As a result, “insight” is our fourth pillar in the BASP framework. Like any architect, you’ve got to know who you’re building for before you start construction. In business analytics, fulfilling any commission starts with statistical storytelling—addressing what’s happened, why it happened, and, most important, what’s going to happen.

Watching a business analytics initiative yield insight is a little like parenting, a parallel one of the coauthors, JP Isson, often draws since his daughter, Roxane, was born seven years ago, around the same time he was working to implement business analytics at Monster Worldwide. Watching both children grow up has meant knowing that they’re not going to be up and running without first taking tentative baby steps, and each evolution toward self-reliance is worth celebrating and reflecting. Soon enough, like Roxane on roller skates, it’s even hard to keep up, but you can let go knowing that you’ve done enough to guide your vision to a life of its own. Of course, independence takes a little hand holding. Many groups within the organization may prove initially resistant to analytics, a fear that is most easily overcome by tying these analytics to a tangible tool. Speak in terminology that speaks ...

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