You Are Doing Analytics Wrong: Here Is Why


Businesses across industries want to compete on insights, and yet many of them aren’t getting the ROI they expect. Somewhere between raw data and actionable insights, processes break down or they don’t exist. It’s not just a tool problem. Organizations need to change the way they think and behave.

Data is data

Every company has data, but not all organizations treat data as a valuable corporate asset.  If they did, they probably wouldn’t have multiple copies of customer records, none of which is “the golden record.”

“There’s no documentation so there’s no traceability,” said Ivan Chen, director of Enterprise Business Analytics at GPU manufacturer NVIDIA (shown above). “If you really want to get value out of your data, you have to put structure around it. We realized that, so we’re putting plans in place to provide a foundation for analytics.”

Chen is wrapping up the first month of a three-month pilot that will enable self-service analytics.  As a first step, his team is inventorying all of NVIDIA’s data assets, documenting them and putting them in a central repository.

“We’re codifying all the business logic in the repository so that people can see how the transformation that was done,” said Chen. “That way, there’s a baseline for discussion.”

In the next phase, analysts will get access to self-service analytics.

“The fundamental reason analytics is not successful is because different functions have different goals,” said Chen. “Business professionals are trying to answer questions about the market, but the market conditions keep changing so you have to keep enhancing the data in reports. IT is supposed to make those changes, but IT has other priorities, so the whole thing breaks down.”

NVIDIA dedicated three IT professionals to the pilot who are supporting Chen and his team. Before the pilot began, it took IT six months enhance the data in a report. Now it takes two or three days.

Analytics and outcomes aren’t aligned

When analytics and business outcomes aren’t linked, it’s impossible to understand the ROI. All too often, people believe analytics is the outcome, rather than a means to an outcome.

“Analytics are viewed as how many tools or dashboards you have, or how many reports you generate, ” said Isher Kaila, CEO of management consulting firm Sapphire Nine Consulting.  “No one is anchoring that to the amount of insights you are delivering, and by extension, what those insights translate to in terms of business outcomes.”

Read the source article at Information Week.