Nigeria: Building Your Data Analytics Capabilities

Last Updated: 18 July 2018
Article by Anthony Olukoju, Tope Aladenusi and Yomi Ibosiola

Most Read Contributor in Nigeria, October 2018

Analytics is at the forefront of the C-suite's agenda these days. Operating in today's complex, highly regulated business environment, leaders can no longer just "trust their gut." Most companies already have at least a subset of the capabilities they need to engage in business analytics. The challenge is to push those capabilities even deeper into the organization — from business executives to the front lines.

As more and more organizations pursue analytics as a business tool, those that can effectively use analytic insights to inform high impact processes and decisions have the opportunity to outperform those that lag behind.

Analytics is not a project with a nice deliverable that you put on a shelf. It is a continuous cycle of understanding and improving business process performance. It should focus on high-impact areas, and ask smart questions. Organizations that have mastered applying analytics to support enterprise decision-making tend to focus on seven analytic principles as they strive to accelerate workforce adoption and capture more value.

These seven principles are enumerated below to assist as you embark on your analytics journey and help move your organization beyond traditional business intelligence toward deeper insight and distant foresight:

1. Start where you are

  • Understand the current state and pick a starting point for implementation. An honest self-assessment is the first step in understanding current capabilities – and the gaps that need to be closed.
  • The key is to assess where an organization is in the analytics journey and develop the areas that are most ready.

2. Ask smart questions

  • Knowing which questions to ask – where the most relevant and valuable insights are likely to be found – is the foundation of any analytics initiative.
  • Using overall corporate strategy and business processes as a guide, organizations must ask the following:
    • What drives value?
    • What questions need to be asked?
    • How do we measure up – against our goals and against the competition?
    • What investments will drive the required return? 
  • What information do we need to answer these important questions?

3. Listen carefully

  • Understanding what signals matter most is the next fundamental principle of sustaining analytics excellence.
  • Signals are everywhere and the ability to decipher and integrate these signals into a coherent reflection of performance is vital.

4. Accelerate insights

  • It is essential to automate information delivery to processes and people, and automate responses as much as possible so that decision making is sped up and action can be taken with certainty, at a lower cost.

5. Enhance visualization capabilities to engage users

  • The method of presenting information is just as important as the information itself. It must be in a format that engages the user and promotes digging deeper to find answers that may otherwise be overlooked.

6. Build a fact-driven culture

  • To operate in today's complex, highly regulated business environment, leaders can no longer just "trust their gut." Leading organizations are building a fact-driven analytics culture to drive streamlined execution of business processes.

7. Practice right-fit analytics

  • Selecting the right analytics tools and technologies is critical. Invest in tools that fit now and that will be flexible and powerful enough to grow with the organization.

Today's great competitors are increasingly those that are able to seize the advantage of insight. They recognize the potential value of the tremendous amount of data they are collecting, creating, and curating. And they're using deep analytics capabilities to translate that potential into real business results. The seven principles highlighted above will get you started and help your organisation recognize, confront, and manage the challenges that inhibit growth and performance.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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