Recently, I saw Clint Eastwood's latest biography, J. Edgar - depicting J. Edgar Hoover, founder of the FBI.
In several respects, the movie reminded of the challenges analytical manager faces in driving impact and results in their business environment.
Contrary to what I believed the FBI grew quite organically (as opposed to a top-down strategic imperative), - born out of initial success to dismantle a domestic 'communistic' group organising armed attacks on government targets.
The succes of the Bureau, initially an unarmed investigation division, was due to scientific approach to evidence analysis.
Standard policing methods in the 1920's considered crime scenes to be rubbish requiring fast cleanup. Hoover, who also pioneered fingerprint analytics, was the first to see crime scenes as invaluable data vaults. In one subplot, we see that how careful analysis of the wood in a self-constructed ladder used in the kidnapping of Charles Lindenbergh's baby, ultimately leads to strongly narrowing down the options for the identity and whereabouts of the suspect.
But the movie also hints to 'analytics gone wrong' scenario, as a shadow of doubt is cast on whether the trialled suspect was indeed guitly of the kidnapping. Hoover, nor his Bureau, could not afford to loose grip on this highly mediatized case. We see J. Edgar going at great lengths to claim success and struggling to communicate the relevance of his organisation - which gives a complex, and sobering picture of how integrity, belief, ambition, and vision are mixed up in the decisions of this analytical leader.
Where "Moneyball" shows the audience how an analytical strategy can outperform competition and change the game, "J. Edgar" illustrates how many organisations struggle in strongly positioning analytics in an organisation where multiple interests are at stake. The human side of analytics....