In Analytics

For their 2013 report, The Emerging Big Returns on Big Data,” Tata Consulting surveyed executives at more than 500 companies with one billion dollars or more in annual revenues about their efforts to invest in and profit from big data analytics.

Respondents across industries consistently ranked two issues as barriers to realizing ROI from Big Data:

  • Getting business units to share data across organizational silos
  • Building high levels of trust between the data scientists who present insights on Big Data and the function managers

These cultural issues consistently outranked more technical issues such as, “determining which Big Data technologies to use” and “reskilling the IT function to be able to use the new tools and technologies of Big Data” and “putting our analysis of Big Data in a presentable form for making decisions”.

Clearly, culture affects an analytics project’s opportunity for success. Getting all stakeholders to recognize and act on the project’s importance is one way to address this cultural barrier head on. How can you elevate your analytics project’s strategic priority?

In a recent Energy Central webinar, Erick Corona from Pacific Gas & Electric identified the two most important components to creating an analytics culture: a leader who “gets it” and employees who can “make it happen.”

Leaders who get it are convinced about the value of data and applying analytics as a way to do business. These leaders are consistent and courageous. They create an open culture that encourages curiosity and exploration of data, and engage in their own exploration by looking outside their industry for benchmarks and role models.

Employees who can make analytics happen, according to Corona, work well in teams, view working with data as an opportunity for improvement and marry that data with their expertise in their specific industry and role.

Once you have the right leaders and employees in place, there are several options for how to organize your culture, including creating an analytics center of excellence.

As the business guru Peter Drucker is credited as saying, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Put culture at the top of your list when making analytics a priority in your organization.

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