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Analytics - The business critical function
You may recall in an earlier blog I talked about why analytics is a critical function for any world class business and that in the process of turning data into profit, the 3 key enablers are People, Process and Technology.
Understanding where you are in each of these key areas is important in order to progress and to create a first class analytics practice.
As part of this, you need to undertake as a starting point a SWOT analysis for each aspect. On completion, create a road map (bottom up and top down) within the constraints you are operating in.
Once the road map is built it is critical that the business:
· Prioritises the development: 80-20 rule
· Commits to timescales (all staff)
· Be excited and make the Change!
Once the change is in place commit to continuous improvement, build the team and help individuals grow so they can evolve from managing the foundations to delivering increasingly complex analytical models.
A final reminder on the importance of having the right people in place to ensure that your data works as hard for the business as it can. A good analytics team with the right leadership will have an exponential impact on the business, which will in turn build confidence in the team to deliver.
The fastest growing and most profitable businesses in the world all understand the value of data and invest heavily in their analytics teams and their leadership.
If you haven’t already, then perhaps you should start by investigating how you develop your team.
At Blue Label Consulting, we have a proven track record in helping businesses determine where they are along the journey and can help up skill your people as well as deliver critical analytics projects.
If you want to find out more please contact me here.
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Difference between a forecast and forecast by a strong analytics leader
The softer skills in Analysts play a dominant role in creating a first class forecast that is dependable and instils confidence within the business.
By now you would have established a knowledge of skill sets within your analytics practice and gained an understanding of the benefits an analytics leader can bring to the party versus a good manager. Nowhere is this more apparent than when considering and delivering forecasts.
Having spent considerable time working for businesses in different industries and markets, I have seen the difference that adding soft skills to core technical requirements can make to delivery of a forecast.
A good forecast will deliver a technical model with a low % error, will be robust, stable and scalable and fix any divergence. All of which are great but in order to get traction within the business it needs to be believed.
A first class forecast is not only technically sound and accurate but is also communicated succinctly and timely, is believable and convincing and able to flex to business strategy. This is only achievable with a strong leader who is proactive and eager to understand everything at the most granular available interval and who can engage the action team to deliver quickly.
In short, technical capability is important but a leader that understands the business requirements and how data adds real value coupled with the ability to communicate and influence at board level can change company fortunes.
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In my last blog I talked about the importance of understanding the level of maturity your analytics practice is currently at.
Today I want to look at the different skill sets found at different levels of analytics departments to help you understand where your team is.
I have broken it down into 6 different levels as above but ahead of that, it’s worth remembering that in order for you to develop a great team it is vital that the team have transparency in terms of progressing their careers and the core skills they would need to master to get there.
As you can see from the above chart, as you move through each level we move from individuals who have basic programming and Excel skills, to those who are objective driven and specialist operators understanding the importance of why and how the objective benefits the business.
Eventually, having good operators isn’t enough. You also need analysts who are good stakeholder managers, who champion analytics values and are capable of multi project management. Clearly having the skill sets is critical, but skills alone won’t make enough difference.
In order to develop such a team, you also need a strong leader or leadership team who understand the value that data can bring in supporting the business strategy and an analytics lead who has the ability to influence at senior levels.
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Brendan launched Blue Label Consulting in 2011. With innovative use of Data through AI, ML and other quantitative methods, he delivers robust analytics and actionable insights to solve business problems.