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The Chief Analytics Officer’s Nightmare By @ABridgwater | @BigDataExpo [#BigData]

Without a CAO in place, any analytics that does occur is often fragmented out across silos

The Chief Analytics Officer’s Nightmare

Scene scenario: 10 am in a boardroom somewhere, second round of coffees served, Danish and donuts untouched, a quiet hush settles.

"Well you know what guys? (and, by the use of the term guys I mean to include both sexes here assembled) - the trouble that we have as a company is that we are, to put it bluntly, just a little analytics-poor," said the newly appointed Chief Analytics Officer.

That we should consider a firm to be analytically deficient or poor is a profound comment on our modern age.

Does such a term even exist? It is very likely that it soon will, given the weight of importance we are (arguably very correctly) placing upon data analytics and the engines, tools, databases, developer programmes and ancillary software that is a) already present and b) currently burgeoning in this field.

The CAO cometh
The above fabricated office scenario is as good as real. The appointment of Chief Analytics Officers (CAO) has come about because these people need to exist. Without a CAO in place, any analytics that does occur is often fragmented-out across silos. Here its eventual worth my be lost higher up the food chain where it is needed.

As Forbes recently reported, "[Effective and productive] CAOs override organizational and departmental boundaries, building and creating a culture of analytics adoption and helping drive consumption of insights, thereby promoting informed decision making."

Without the CAO in place, we face life in the analytically deficient (or, at least, analytically challenged) organization and this not a pleasant place to be. This is a firm that suffers from distinct characteristics that separate it from its more analytically-advanced peers where advanced interactive analytics is the norm.

What drags an analytically deficient firm down?

  1. Data deficiency that often stems from the business never having previously been an analytics-focused company in the first place
  2. A weak information value chain
  3. Lack of collaboration and an embedded acceptance of the importance of analytics deep down inside all departments within the organization
  4. No "burning" software and data computing platform upon which to execute the analytics in hand.
  5. No formally appointed CAO

We can say that analytically enriched firms (the opposite of analytically deficient ones) exhibit buy-in to analytics not only from senior management, but from all stakeholders across the staff-base. This will mean that mobile device-compliant analytics must be present and widespread - and this comes back to our need for the "burning platform" (the lack of one is often witnessed in change-resistant companies) as referenced in the last point above.

Institutionalization, in a good way
The analytically enriched company has a CAO in place that acts as a top-down driver to a) source, engender and nurture an analytics talent pool and b) encourage and enable the institutionalization of analytics across, within and throughout all information sources that connect to the organization in question.

As SAS Institute and MIT Technology Review paper entitled "From Value to Vision: Reimagining the Possible with Data Analytics" wrote as follows:

"[When it comes to technology latency] the analytically challenged are stymied in their progress by core data issues, from upstream at the capture, quality, integration and access phases to downstream, where data is analyzed and disseminated. To address these areas, companies must invest in improved infrastructure, processes and technology skills. Wholesale change of these competencies across the organization is impossible without executive commitment to data. Therefore, improvement must start at the localized level."

This is the Chief Analytics Officer's nightmare, this is technology latency, this is the analytically deficient and analytically challenged company - this is what not to do, so now we know how to start on doing analytics right.

No cheese at bedtime please, just some sweet thoughts about institutionalized analytics - and some hot cocoa if you must.

This post is brought to you by SAS.

SAS is a leader in business analytics software and services and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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