In today’s extreme competition, no brand can survive with the myopic view of itself or the competition. A missed trend or fault in prediction of future course of events could prove a blow that the business might not be able to overcome. Further options like angry investors, lost confidence of market, downward spiral of sentiments and ultimately, acquisition can’t be ruled out.
To avoid this grim story, businesses employ or outsource Analytics & Insights (A&I) services, to provide the leaders with the sharp insights of what is happening, where. In practice, some reports are scheduled for delivery at agreed upon frequency with some not-so-frequent industry trends deep dive.
Everything is in pleasant state till the finance department communicates of tightening the noose and business leaders are scrambling to trim the costs, with only the direct impacting practices securing the ROI brownies. A&I services, being the perceived or sometimes not, indirect contributors face the brunt. The very existential question that the department/vendor has to face is - Show the impact!
The impact is dependent on various factors, among which skills of the team, is the least to call for. If we consider giving-taking analytical insights as a transaction, both the sides are equally responsible for a fertile engagement, which is as equally nourished by totality of the solution as much as the ability of the taker to ask the right question and implement the recommendation. A slip-up by any variable would make the whole equation questionable. Much has been written about the A&I side of equation, in this article I would focus on the sponsor/business/client/consumer side.
Beware what you desire for
It is imperative that the business team knows what is the problem it is trying to solve. A clear end objective is half the battle won. A clear goal and impact helps A&I team to plan the analysis, ask the right question and refer the right data. It also avoids time wasted in re-scoping, re-engineering and moreover prevents the blood spill when the blame game begins. It is a clear dismay to the vision of growth that leadership had charted.
One can’t drive a car looking at GPS only
Yes, data gives the pointers to the perceived destination but there is no guarantee, it’s the right destination. The context is as important as the data as it helps the A&I team to understand the objective and plan the course. With the inputs of A&I team, quite a times the perceived destination seems to be just a stop to the actual destination or worse it might not be the correct destination altogether. Enlighten the A&I team to enlighten you.
A call from two sides, just adds to the confusion
If multiple business stakeholders are involved, could be from different department or reporting to different bosses or different geographies, it is imperative that there is an alignment on not only the end objective but also on the course. Failing which, will add to more confusion and frustration. If there are separate expectations, prioritization would make everyone’s life easy. While prioritization, choosing the course with maximum overlap would be a win-win, keeping everyone engaged.
Frequent checks before the gas runs out
Setting up milestones and timely calibration is essential to keep the A&I team on course. Not only will it avoid last minute surprises but keep the team from becoming complacent of time and goals. It would also help in regulating or adjusting the gauges or destination, if required.
Will you willy or stoppie to the finish line
This is regarding the last mile when the presentation is to be done to the executives or multiple business stakeholders. It would probably be you and not the A&I team, who would be presenting the findings. Let the team know what your style is and how you want to cross the line. What is the story, you want the audience to take through. Whether you want it too much technical with lots of equations and variables or simple English would do. What graphs, how many drill downs and cuts. If not all, even some of this information if conveyed to the team, could make the ending happy!