In building analytics awareness, the first step is to assess your analytics maturity. Are you already applying analytics to different business functions? If you are, assess your approach and successes in those areas and build on them. If you aren't, initiate a pilot project in an area of critical need -- preferably one where the quality of the data is good enough. Nevertheless, even if the quality of the data is insufficient, you probably can still move forward. Analytics isn't an exercise in accounting; [the financial auditing process referred to as] ticking and tying is rarely essential.
To provide answers to substantive business questions, CIOs should be prepared to ask and answer 10 basic questions that will help guide the business along the path of analytics awareness:
- How are we communicating fact-based information to the teams that need it? How are we calculating benefits?
- How do we determine the value we're getting from our IT architecture?
- Which systems are obsolete? Critical? Which systems provide the most value? The least?
- Can we run analytics on our systems' use and value? If so, how do we determine metrics to assess value?
- How do we get rid of unnecessary complexity and redundancies in our IT architecture?
- Are our IT performance metrics up-to-date, and do they reflect the business strategy of the organization as a whole?
- Does our IT strategy support overall corporate strategic objectives?
- Do we have the analytical tools and technologies to support such sophisticated analytics as scenario modeling, visualization, text analytics, predictive modeling, sentiment analysis, customer segmentation, optimization and demand modeling? If not, how can we invest prudently and achieve maximum value for the IT dollars spent?
- Can we invest in such virtualization technologies as cloud computing and still maintain security?
- Can we model scenarios to obtain the maximum benefit from the smallest investment?
John Lucker, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, is Deloitte's global advanced analytics human capital market leader.