Can I Ensure That My Analytics Project Gets Approved?

You have decided that your business can benefit from an analytics solution. Now, it is time to convince your executive team, your managers and your users. If you are to gain approval for your initiative, you must take the right approach.

In this article, we discuss some of the primary factors you must consider to build and present your initiative to the various audiences within your organization.

How Can Assure Approval of My Analytics Project?

A four-year study of businesses implementing analytics solutions found the following:

  • Less than 50% of the businesses reported measurable results
  • Only one third of the businesses met their objectives for user adoption
  • 77% said that user adoption was a challenge
  • Only 20% reported that analytics insights provided positive business outcomes

Before you give up on your initiative, consider this: most software projects fail because of poor planning and execution. So, if you can plan appropriately, you will be way ahead of the game. Here are a few factors you will need to include in your review and planning process.

IT Team – Be sure you include your IT team in your planning. You will need a comprehensive understanding of your existing technology, hardware, network and devices and you will need the help of your IT team to assist you in planning roll-out, estimating the cost of new technology to implement your plan, and interviewing prospective solution vendors and service providers.

To Gain Their Buy-In: Involve them, and ask for their opinion. Build a plan and allow them to review it and comment. Listen to their concerns. Ask for their support in working with users. Ensure that the vendor you engage will provide support for IT so that your IT team is not overwhelmed with new and expanded tasks and responsibilities.

Executives – Senior executives will be looking at investment costs, return on investment (ROI) and the total cost of ownership (TCO) and at the value you claim this solution will provide. Be prepared before you approach your executive team. Be sure you have involved all the right players and include representatives of these groups to address concerns and answer questions if the executive team wants to probe and challenge.

To Gain Their Buy-In: Be prepared! Keep your presentation at a high level, but be sure you have the details to answer their questions if and when they arise. Provide more detailed reports for them to peruse at their leisure. They probably won’t dive in, but they will be reassured that you have done your homework. Focus your presentation on a) reduction of cost, b) competitive positioning with EXAMPLES of how analytics will help achieve these goals, c) doing less with more and making the company more productive.

Managers – Managers will be concerned about putting more strain on business users and team members and, since the modern approach to business intelligence and analytics involves the business users and their transition to Citizen Data Scientists, you must focus on the managers and what’s in it for them. How does this help them to do their job? They are accountable for results, and they only have so many team members to get the job done. They are also evaluated, based on how their employees see their management style and effectiveness, and they will not want their team to complain.

To Gain Their Buy-In: Focus on their business processes and workflow and how augmented analytics and business user involvement can speed the process, ensure more fact-based decisions and make the managers look good, without putting more strain on the business user. Ensure that your vendor and IT team have a plan to reassure the managers so that they don’t worry about the use of sophisticated systems that will take a lot of training time. How will the roll-out be done? You want a controlled approach so that users are not spending a lot of time getting up to speed and neglecting day-to-day tasks.

Business Users – As usual, the buck stops with the team member. They are the ones who will be asked to change their processes, learn new systems and take on new responsibilities. Look again at the survey results reported above and notice how poor user adoption affected analytics projects. If you can’t get your users to adopt the solution, your project will fail. Your executives, IT team and managers may think this is a great idea, but they will blame you if the team does not respond positively. Involve users in advance to gather and thereby anticipate their concerns when you present your findings and your plan. Do not be defensive. Listen to their issues and incorporate those concerns into your review and selection of a vendor and a solution. With the right self-serve augmented analytics solution and service provider, you can assure them that a) the system will be easy to use and won’t take a lot of time to learn, b) will make their job easier and c) will give them a career advantage.

To Gain Their Buy-In: Listen, digest and address concerns. Understand that there is a culture shift involved in this process and be sure you acknowledge that at all levels of your presentation, including your executive team. Let’s not pretend this new idea will not require change. It will. But if you work with all levels to assure that new responsibilities will be rewarded in employee evaluations and that the team will be supported by managers who are true champions of the process, you will be ahead of the game. Try to meet with users without IT and managers in the room, and then regroup with the appropriate staff (managers, IT etc.) after you have had a chance to evaluate and address user concerns. Users are more likely to be receptive if they aren’t put on the spot. BUT be sure to control the discussion and the environment so it doesn’t turn into a complaint session. When you are ready to do your sales pitch and you have addressed all their concerns, focus on the user and their hot buttons. Tell them how this solution will help them and assure them that the vendor and your implementation team will be there every step of the way. And then follow through!

For more information and details on how to plan for and achieve success with an augmented analytics solutions, read our free articles: ‘A Roadmap to ROI and User Adoption of Augmented Analytics and BI Tools,’ ‘Making the Case for Embedded BI and Analytics,’and ‘Integrate Augmented Analytics and Digital Transformation to Achieve Continuous Business Improvement.’

In this article, we have included just a few of the considerations and factors you will have to address in order to build a plan for your Augmented Analytics project. It is a good idea to engage an IT expert – one with the skills and experience to anticipate your concerns, work with you on industry and business issues and plan for a small, medium or large enterprise installation. An expert team can help you manage the technology review and requirements, and plan for your presentation, etc. Be sure you choose a vendor with sophisticated augmented analytics features and functionality in an easy-to-use environment that will support the transition of your business users to Citizen Data Scientists and ensure that your project will succeed. Contact Us to find out how we can help you plan and achieve your goals. It really IS possible!

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