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How can data drive success?

Published on 26 October 2022

How can data drive success?

Every function needs good analysts, from transformation and partnership managers to planning, quality, knowledge, or insight teams. Taking a fresh look, and doing things differently, can produce outstanding results.

  1. Analysts are key to improvement - In the past many successes have been led by good judgement from experienced leaders, with analysts validating rather than leading. Since Covid, past experience doesn’t apply the same way, so everyone needs us! As a result planning, insight and other specialist teams are at the table when decisions are made, bringing insight and able to shape strategy. So if things settle into a ‘new normal’, how will we ensure that we don’t go back to just gathering data but produce analysis that supports or challenges other people’s ideas? This is our moment of truth.
  2. Success is built on brilliant basics - Analysts need to be able pick the right tool for the job and use it well. Pioneers of new approaches build on these foundations. Equally, if we need data that doesn’t exist yet, are we confident and skilled enough as analysts to get the basics in place, at speed and scale? We are more than Excel jockeys! We may need to sit with people and observe processes, put ourselves in the customer shoes, talk with front-line colleagues, and so forth. Analysts who do these things are revealing a wealth of opportunities. Yet new and shiny isn’t always best; if we just need to bang in a nail, we had best use our hammer. We can still make a big difference with simple tools.
  3. Working at pace and scale - We now see change at speed, using agile rather than traditional projects. A quicker rollout means quicker results. We can’t aim for perfection, but we do need the fundamentals right. So, as analysts, we need to really understand what is ‘good enough’. We drive improvement by making things better, one step at a time. We move towards a goal and deliver benefits as we go. We need to be prepared to fail. And when we do, ‘fail fast’, ‘fail cheap’, by always understanding how we can use the learning to improve next time.
  4. Creating value for your business - We succeed when people feel the value of what we do. So can you demonstrate your impact on customer and colleague experience, for instance, and on commercial performance or process improvement? From spotting opportunities to tracking actual results, we are helping others create changes that deliver value. The insight we offer is a key part of the ‘value chain’ that leads to delivery of the benefit. So we need to tell a story about the benefits we’ve enabled. How we did this is just one part of that story, and not everyone will need to hear that detail. What we achieved as a result of our work is the story that matters
  5. Collaboration builds engagement - Analysts can no longer sit alone, in a darkened room, because we need to engage others, to get the data and knowledge we need, and get them to turn our insight into action. The best piece of analysis never takes us beyond the ‘halfway mark’. Sure, if there’s a team of us, we can divide up the roles and engagement may not come naturally to many analysts. But it is key to success and, what’s more, it is a skill we can learn. We may naturally focus our learning on new techniques, but we need to move beyond our comfort zone if we are to work with our stakeholders to deliver value.

Author: Ian Robertson

This article was first published in the 2022 Best Practice Guide - You Moment of Truth: Confident to Succeed

To download a full digital copy of the Best Practice Guide, click here

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Author: Leanne McNamee

Categories: Library, Data, Analytics & Insight

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