Why Analytics Projects Fail – #6: Lack of Funding

Of all the reasons an analytics project can fail, one of the hardest to fix is lack of funding.

There are numerous causes for funding issues with an analytics project, 3 of the most common being unexpected budget cuts, shift in strategy, and lack of understanding.

When you are faced by unexpected budget cuts, which has happened to me several times, the best thing you can do is try and reconfigure your project so that as least pieces of it can still be completed. The idea here is to do what you can until more money is made available.

Having a well thought out plan that is scalable will help you tremendously. One time when I had a million-dollar dashboard project cut because of budget cuts, I peeled back some features and redesigned others to come up with a new plan for 10% of the original cost. That was approved. And over the next year I had pretty much added everything cut back piece by piece. Bottom line, if the company needs a new analytics tool, its up to the analyst to make sure they get it by being flexible and smart.

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A shift in strategy happens a lot in business. So many internal and external forces are at play, a lot of times what once seemed a priority, can quickly become an afterthought. With analytics this can happen a lot when people fall back the we can just get by with what we have for now mentality. In today’s business world where success is driven by data, this can be crazy but it still happens everyday.

The best way to react to strategy shifts are for you to adapt your project to the new strategy and keep it both relevant and necessary. A good analyst can always find a way to offer analytics solutions for any part of the business. Use this adaptability to show your project can evolve with the needs of the business and you will likely still get funding, albeit for a new set of users.

The third reason lack of funding can happen, is actually a lack of understanding. Often finance decisions are made based on assumptions and predictive modeling… highly susceptible to being wrong if some important variables are missed. This has happened to me a number of times. But after conversations and educational moments with the finance team, the true value and ultimate savings of my analytics projects led to the lack of funding being mitigated.

Some things you can try when your project is impacted by a lack of understanding will take us back to the concept of enchantment. Make sure they like you and understand what value you and your analysis adds to the team. Often this can be a hard thing to quantify in a budget. Make sure you are showing how this project benefits others and helps the business as a whole… build trust. Third, make sure the project you are championing will make a difference, show that difference and educate on the need for that difference, in short show them you are doing this for a great cause.

There are countless reasons for lack of funding to become a roadblock for your analytics project, and countless ways to remedy this. If you are faced with one and need some help getting things back on track, connect with me and we can come up with a way to get your project funded again.

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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