Why Analytics Projects Fail: #1 – Lack of Focus

Lack of focus is common reason analytics projects fail. Keeping a focus on any project can be a challenge for companies that are not well organized. If you are an analyst or trying to champion analytics in your organization and are up against a lack of focus, I have some ideas for you.

First off, size really isn’t a factor when it comes to the organizational culture towards being organized. In some cases size makes the problem more apparent, but size can also mean more resources, so in most cases its really not a serious issue.

There is generally a strong correlation be the way data is handled in a business and how organized the company is in other ways. Lots of paper, manual processes and clearly define process flows may look organized, but it’s highly unlikely they deliver the type of data leadership really needs.

Lack of focus often happens when leaders seem overwhelmed and say they don’t have time to dedicate to things like analytics. The first thing you need to figure out is are people resources really stretched too thin or is it more a cultural issue where being too busy is more of a badge of honor.

The best way to deal with overworked teams is to start putting data around what they do every day and come up with solutions to improve time management and delegation.  Few people can truly say they have extra time, but everyone can say they need to figure out how to manage time better. A good analytics solution does just that.

Few people can rationally explain why their job would be harder if they had more analytics.  So it’s not too hard to get people to buy into the concept of analytics, but to get them to buy into the actual practice you need to be part salesman and part storyteller.

You need to show them the value putting a greater focus on your analytics project will bring to both the business as a whole and to each individual involved in the project. Besides showing data to champion the use of more data, you need to tell stories about how its helped in other places. You need to get them to envision how much better life will be once your project is complete.

Lack of focus can also come when the project is not well thought out of you get scope creep… when additions are made to a project that start distracting people form the original goal of the project. It is hard to stay focused when you don’t see focus in the project itself.

The final point I’ll make is that you also need visible and consistent buy in from the person(s) in charge. If they are not advocating for analytics, then your project will never get the focus from stakeholders and project team members you need then you will fail.

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Analytics Culture – The key to using analytics in a business is like a secret sauce that fuels Data-Driven Decison-Making. It is a unique combination of analytics talent, technology and technique that are brought together to enrich and empower an organization. A successful analytics culture is not easy to create, but DMAIPH can show you how. Contact DMAIPH now at analytics@dmaiph.com or connect with me directly so we can build a strategic plan to turn your company into analytics driven success story.

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