Why Analytics Projects Fail – #8: Lack of Resources

To start with a lack of resources should probably be called lack of time. Lack of time to design an effective strategy. Lack of time to find the right talent. Lack of time to get everyone on the same page.  We are all just too busy and have too much to do. We say lack of resources, but mostly we mean our team doesn’t have time.

A lot of times you hear about failures with analytics projects is because of lack of resources. When I hear about this, I always ask for a better definition of what is meant by lack of resources. Is it lack of leadership support, lack of funding, lack of strategy, lack of focus and vision, lack of talent? They are all often disguised as lack of resources.

In each of the previous seven blogs in this series I talked about a reason why analytics projects fail and since they can all fall under the boarder lack of resources, let’s do a quick recap.

  1. Lack of Focus – People are not on the same page
  2. Lack of Vision – People don’t know where this is going
  3. Lack of Management Support – People don’t know who to follow
  4. Lack of a Champion – People have no one to cheer lead
  5. Lack of Organizational Support – People don’t really care
  6. Lack of Funding – People don’t want to waste money on this
  7. Lack of Talent – People can’t do the job

There are all people driven reasons for why your project may be in danger of failing. They are all fixable using people skills. This is why I often argue a good analyst who can communicate is worth more than a great analyst who cannot. The reasons why analytics projects most often fail is human, not technological.

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In the end, for whatever of the reasons above, your project is in jeopardy, it will be up to you to show people why they should invest the time needed to get things back on track.

You have to push for focus, share the vision, educated your managers, become a champion, gain organizational support, secure funding and align the right talent to make things work.

I have been in this situation numerous times. In every situation the one constant variable that changed possible failure into a success was me. Bring a truly great analyst means showing people how your project will be a solution to their problems and is well worth their investment of time.

When you do this, they you won’t be in a place where lack of resources dooms your analytics project.

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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.

Why Analytics Projects Fail – #7: Lack of Talent

When analytics projects fail due to lack of talent, this is generally symptomatic of a bigger cause. Lack of talent is something that can be much harder to fix then just hiring someone.

One of the reasons behind the lack of talent may be a misunderstanding of the project by senior leadership or just an overall lack of management support. As I mentioned in a previous blog, the best thing you can do is work with a senior leader to help them understand what level of talent is needed. When you do this you can enhance your analytics solutions and have them advocate for you to get the right talent.

Lack of vision and/or focus by your organization can also result in not having the right talent available for the job. It might not even be the analyst, but the it might be something missing within the development team or the project implantation team. This generally ends up with analytics solutions being full of patchwork shortcuts that limit their impact.

Lack of funding can also be an issue, where your organization just can’t offer a competitive package to the available talent. This is becoming even more of an issue lately as good analytics talent is in high demand and the supply can’t come close to keeping up.

Having the right analyst, with the right skills sets, the right training and the right tools aligned to give your business a good analytics solution misfires a lot. There are hundreds of business intelligence tools, thousands of types of databases, all generating very unique reports. When one of these elements does not match up it can easily cause a failure due to lack of talent.

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My suggestion if you think you have a lack of talent problem is draw some kind of process flow. Who are all the players in each part of the process? What applications are used to collect, store, analyze and report your data? What programming or language skills are required?  When you lay all this out then you have an idea of what skills and experience your analyst needs. Combine this with the people side of the job, what communication skills, what data visualization skills, what project skills does your analyst need? If you don’t have anyone in the organization with this list of skills, you need to either hire one or create one.

When you look at job postings right not for analysts, its easy to see that requirements vary greatly across positions.  No two companies have the exact same analytics needs not employee analysts the exact same way. So if you are going out to hire one, make sure you have a clear idea of what you need and not get caught up in looking for an analytics rock star.

It is often easier to actually look inside and find someone who can be trained to take on the role. Having internal business knowledge and knowing the organizational culture are huge plusses. A lot of time because that person doesn’t have the skills on their resume yet, they get excluded. However, I have always favored promoting from within and upskilling then going out and hiring an unknown variable.

So if you think lack of talent is killing you analytics project and are not sure what to do next. Connect with me. Let’s build a job description that tailor fits your needs and see where the best place is to find them. It’s probably someone sitting in a cube next to you.

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.

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.