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The Analytical Advantage

Strategies for the Analytics Lifecycle

 

ADVISORY ARTICLE

By Evan Piekara

Washington, DC, USA

 



Abstract

An organizations’ analytics culture is becoming a differentiator in how organizations attract donors, stakeholders, customers, and employees. Organizations that have successfully integrated their analytic capabilities with strategy are seeing the benefits of evidence-based decisions that drive results. Most organizations’ analytical culture fall into one of five phases of maturity ranging from Analytic Infancy where an organization has little leadership support, limited analytical skills, and lacks processes to an Analytical Competitor where an organization has a C-Suite-supported, integrated, enterprise-wide system that aligns data with strategic actions. Each developmental phase has a distinct culture, challenges, and strategies for driving results. This paper will examine each developmental phase and provide employees, project managers, and other stakeholders with the understanding of how to deliver results and growth in each analytical phase.

The Analytical Advantage

From the social sector competing for funding to Fortune 500 companies competing for customers, data has become the lifeblood of many organizations’ competitive advantage. Nonprofits use data to more effectively meet their mission, target donors, and showcase results to stakeholders, prospective donors, and foundations. Government agencies use data to isolate and mitigate risks, and determine resources to more effectively meet their mission. The private sector is using data to better serve customers, target key markets, and grow their profits. Each sector has its own incentives. Fundamentally, each organization is seeking to differentiate themselves from their competition for donors, funding and resources, or customers’ dollars.

Organizations that have effectively fused their data analytics capabilities with strategy are rocketing ahead of the competition. These organizations are using analytics to continue to do more – impact more people, meet greater mission needs, better reach customers – with less by using data to focus resources on the areas that will best drive strategic results.

When stepping into an organization as an employee, project manager, consultant, or stakeholder, it is critical that one gains an understanding of where the organization is with its analytical culture. Evaluating the organization upfront can lead to savings in time, cost, and resources by enabling one to understand who to communicate to and what message to deliver, what processes and tools to leverage or develop, and how to balance meeting the organization where it is while pushing the organization towards the next developmental stage of analytics.

The Analytics Lifecycle

Most institutions’ analytical prowess can be traced on a spectrum from limited reliance on metrics to an integrated, enterprise-wide system for making evidence-based decisions. At each phase, there are cultural changes and tools and techniques that must be developed to hasten adoption. With any organizational change effort, an emphasis on value-add, results, and “quick wins” must be communicated to reinforce change and build momentum towards greater developments. Evaluating where you are in the analytics lifecycle can enable you to more adeptly manage the risks, challenges, and shortfalls of the organizations’ analytical capabilities.

Most organizations’ analytics development can be qualified into one of five phases. These phases often align with how strategically aligned and developed an organization is.

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About the Author


Evan Piekara

BDO USA, LLP
Washington, DC, USA

 


Evan Piekara
currently works in management consulting as a Senior Manager for BDO Public Sector. Evan supported the launch of BDO’s Public Sector Management Consulting practice helping government and nonprofit organizations develop strategic plans, performance metrics, and manage change efforts. In this capacity, Evan has collaborated with a range of executive leaders and managed diverse teams to deliver results to complex challenges often under tight timelines. Evan currently holds over 8 professional certifications including Project Management Professional (PMP), Change Management Specialist (CMS), Certified Conflict Manager (CCM), Six Sigma Lean Professional (SSLP), Total Quality Management Professional (TQMP), and a Strategic Organizational Leadership Certification (SOLC).

Evan can be contacted at [email protected]

To view other works by Evan Piekara, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/evan-piekara/