There are many ways to plan for and build out data and analytics strategies, teams, and capabilities. In this video Doug Laney and I walk thru various approaches along with the pros and cons of each.
This is a must listen if you are considering implementing a more robust data and analytics strategy to drive your business forward.
The Question: Should you build, buy, or borrow your organizational analytics capabilities? What are the pros and cons of each?
Having done all three, I’ve found a simple line of questioning helps bring clarity:
Ready to make major investment in time, energy, culture, and money? BUY IT (hire talent) and/or BUILD IT (grow talent currently in house).
• Pro: You are building long term capabilities that will grow with the org. Bringing in new skills/perspectives when buying.
• Con: This is an expensive option with a long term commitment. Better be clear on how this team will add value. Building the team, culture, trust and credibility with the business all take time. Waiting ~12 months to see impactful outputs from a brand new analytics team is normal.
Want to test analytics out, get a program up and running quickly, and leverage best practices right away? BORROW IT (hire external temp expertise)
• Pro: Get world class capabilities in place very quickly. No long term headcount commitments. Normal part of evolving workforce strategy. Get talent when you need it. An advisor can answer the question “what are others in our industry doing?”
• Con: You are 100% reliant on that consultant to drive core analytics in your org. There is something to be said for having people in your org doing this. Sustained engagement can be tough.
The Strategy Titan Recommendation
We feel a hybrid approach is a solid strategy for most companies:
• Build the team in house whenever you can. You are building core skills and capabilities for the long term.
• Use consultants for a “shot in the arm” and then hand those initial project over to the new in house team that is being developed.
• Determining factors for your approach will include appetite for cultural change, timelines, and available budget
• Enables flexibility around investments and headcount and allows you to grow as needed
If I could go back in time I would bring in consultants to help my new teams ramp up quicker. The planning and infrastructure heavy pieces of building analytics teams is challenging and time consuming work.
Having help at the beginning can serve as a potent force multiplier for analytics success and helping drive financial growth.
The goal with this approach? Show quick wins to the business. This highlights how we are a valuable partner and can support them in achieving success.
Some additional thoughts from Doug and I based on real world experience and battle scars:
• Organizational readiness is a major consideration. If your company isn’t ready for D&A your programs could be doomed from the start. Do you due diligence to assess this critical dimension of analytics success.
• Lead with business strategy and a plan for helping drive culture change with data. Don’t lead with technology and try to figure out strategy and culture later.
• Speed is essential. It is critical to consider the trade off doing it yourself vs getting outside help. Ask yourself “Is it worth the wait?”
• Get exceptionally clear on how your D&A strategy will help support overarching business goals and objectives. This helps tremendously with driving acceptance and usage within the business.
• Initial impressions with the business matter. Creating a world class analytics experience starts right away. If your users first few experiences with your analytics capabilities is tepid, it can become significantly harder to get them fully on board and leveraging the true power of analytics and data. Get it right up front and you greatly increase your chances of analytics success.
• Consider a hybrid approach to get your D&A initiatives off the ground.
• Don’t hire a consultant without a plan to replace them.
Have questions about starting up a data and analytics practice in house? Reach out to us!
Be sure to check out all the videos from our “Data & Analytics in the Boardroom: Raising Your Digital Quotient” series.