A CEOWorld Magazine article by Alan Boyer, VP of Professional Services, Akili Inc.

Many companies lack a comprehensive strategy for data analytics, despite broadening opportunities to identify areas for internal investment or savings. That’s an important consideration, given that the digital universe will grow significantly through the year 2020, with the vast majority of enterprise data volume coming from new sources.

What’s more, corporate America is starting from a low baseline: Most businesses analyze only 12 percent of their current data, according to Forrester Research. As a CEO, your company needs a comprehensive strategy for analytics to tap into opportunities for investment, growth, and savings.

Siloes and Data Integrity

Without a strategy for analytics, creative companies don’t get what they need from source systems. Instead, they often extract data from multiple areas and drop it down to their desktop. Consequently, those actions generate silos of analytical solutions, which can grow into sizable corporate assets with little governance or control. Additionally, when organizations fail to tap into their own data, they potentially miss out on emerging capabilities.

Get a grasp on your company’s data analytics status and strategy by taking the following five steps:

  1. Perform an assessment of your organization’s data maturity. A strategic approach to data would require your team to accept sharply defined responsibilities so that information — in the correct, available, and timely form — can reach full value as a corporate asset. To make the move to a more strategic approach, however, make sure you have specific processes in place to identify errors and correct them. Is your company taking ownership of the data’s integrity?
  2. Implement methods to make data fully and easily accessible. Desktop solutions may contain views oriented to a single person or group that cannot be accessed or deciphered across the company. Start small by applying new procedures for making data easily accessible to a specific subject area so that you can deliver value and quickly record a visible win.
  3. Evaluate your current data-consumption tools. With new data visualization tools and dashboards, users can unlock insights not as easily gleaned from classic tabular-style reports. With your current tools, are you using too many or too few? Do you understand the use cases for data consumption in your company? Can you support these use cases?
  4. Consider your future needs. How do you move beyond “looking in the rearview mirror” with your historical data and create deeper insights into your business? For example, predictive analytics can foster understanding beyond what has happened through prospective views of real-time data. Could you use predictive tools to improve your operations? Rationalize how analytical tools would help your business, and then build a roadmap for execution.
  5. Train your business community.The latest technologies make large data sets available for use directly by analysts, without the traditional manipulation or involvement from the IT staff. But without training, your team can get overwhelmed. Focus on optimizing access to desired data and the practical application of such tools.

All of these recommendations come with the provision of involving business stakeholders along the entire journey. Participation and ownership on the part of key individuals and groups is crucial for ultimate adoption and will determine how much value can be realized in your transition to an analytical, data-driven company.

Alan Boyer Executive CropAlan Boyer is the VP of Professional Services at Akili Inc., a Dallas-based business management and technology consulting firm that helps improve our client’s business performance through the application of technology, people and process. Akili’s long-standing client relationships speak to our expertise, client-focus, and results-oriented standards of excellence. Alan has over 25 years’ experience leading both IT and professional services organizations with industry expertise including oil & gas, telecom, manufacturing, and distribution among Global 2000 firms.