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3 Key Questions to Ask Before Investing in New Analytics


​​​​​​​​Anyone who has worked in IT for a period of time is likely to have heard the phrase “a solution in search of a problem,” which refers to our collective tendency to jump to solutions before adequately understanding the problem or opportunity and its root causes.

In analytics, this is certainly true, and so we frequently hear statements like:

3 Key Questions

And although these statements may be truthful and even well-intentioned, they indicate a lack of understanding that will likely hamper the success of an analytics program – particularly in the crucial early stages; where gaining momentum is so important.

Why? There is no problem or opportunity being identified. We have a solution in search of a problem.

Successful analytics programs are aligned with organizational strategy; and deliver value primarily through improved decision making. So clearly, the information presented must be relevant, timely and actionable – otherwise we will not get a return on our analytical investment!

Imagine a C-level exec staring at that colorful heatmap, with all its glorious detail – what happens when she realizes that to make better decisions, she needs to look at a completely different information source? Then imagine that data source is not readily available.

What if… the underlying data is ungoverned and untrustworthy?

What if… that new analytics suite cost $1 million and took 18 months to install and the company still hasn’t defined any competitive advantage as a result?

And, unfortunately, these are exactly the sort of failures that occur. According to a recent Forbes article, only 48 percent of corporate executives who were surveyed indicated their firm had achieved “measurable results” from their big data investments.

As an industry, we can do better.

So, instead of jumping to solutions when launching analytical programs, let’s first ask ourselves a few key questions:

  1. What decisions do our executive team make that really drive business results?
  2. What information do they rely on to inform those decisions?
  3. How can analytical tools help our executives in making these critical decisions?

Starting with those three simple questions will go a long way towards guiding a fledgling analytical practice into the right path – one focused on delivering value, with problems and opportunities (not solutions) as the primary focus.

Learn more about MNP's Data & Information Dynamic Services

Tomorrow’s technology is shaping business today. To learn more about how MNP can help you can make advanced analytics work for you, contact Brian Foster at 204.336.6131 or [email protected].