Guest post from Mark Morton, senior manager, product marketing, IBM Business Analytics
I recently had the pleasure of attending Computerworld’s Premier 100 Conference in Tucson, Ariz. The event honored individuals who have had a positive impact on their organization through technology.
As part of the event, IBM hosted a roundtable that included 25 of the top CIOs from a mix of small, mid-market and large enterprises discussed how they helped their organizations get value from their data resources.
Following are some of the items we discussed and what I consider to be key attributes of a successful data and analytics project:
· Define the project in terms of why, not on what. The point is to focus efforts on the value to be delivered to the business. This generates interest and commitment on the part of the business users – which makes for success.
· Identify specific desires of the business to help secure funding. It is much easier to get resources for a specific business desire (e.g., increase in sales in a particular market or 20 percent faster throughput of work items).
· Give the project a name. This helps people identify with the project and helps publicize its existence, results and garner participation.
· Celebrate early success. Do not wait until the project is completed. Let people know they are part of a success early on. This will help fuel ongoing success.
· Choose the right converts. Find the departments or workgroups in the business that are most interested in participating. Work with them first to get early successes that you can publicize. Work with less eager groups when it becomes clear that the project is delivering real value so they will be more likely to adopt the new way of doing things.
· Find and treasure power users. People are much more likely to go to someone who sits in their area and ask about a new system than they are to call the help desk. Identify those users who "get it" and move them to sit closer to the groups as the system is being brought into production. As a side benefit, help desk calls may go down as well.
· Users find it easier to define what they want in terms of something they can see. A number of examples of successful projects were founded on agile development, featuring a number of prototypes for users to interact and provide feedback. Someone said that was much better than the former "30 pages of text" that they used to use for specifications.
· Take small bites. Projects that deliver value in shorter phases (e.g., 90 days or less) tend to be more successful than those that do not deliver for two years or more.
Of course, every organization is different and has varying requirements so there is no magic formula. However, the items above are what some of the most successful CIOs in the business were prepared to share with their peers.
From an analytics perspective, a lot of what was discussed is being applied as part of Analytics Centers of Excellence (ACE). Many organizations that are successfully deploying analytics are bringing together a variety of analytics experts in IT and the business who manage a business analytics program with focus on strategy, value, people, process and technology.
To help organizations find best practices, IBM has created a virtual ACE community on AnalyticsZone. This community offers focused content, resources and the ability to share with like-minded organizations and industry experts so everyone can achieve success.
What other key attributes would you add to this list? I would love your feedback.