More and More Frequently I Find What I Do Being a Form of Data Evangelist

The concept of a key influencer in a field being called ad Evangelist has been around business for awhile. I remember reading how early on, called their marketing people evangelists. One the comes to mind is Guy Kawasaki, who wrote about this in his book Enchantment.

When you have something that is either new or still young in its overall adoption cycle, you need evangelists to raise awareness and being the process of acceptance.

When it comes to data evangelism, there has definitely been a number of key leaders pushing for more and more adoption of analytics across various organizations. Bernard Marr is one I have followed quite extensively.

Based on the importance so many companies have placed on analytics in recent years, you would expect to find that just about every business leader buys into the concept of using data to drive decision-making.

To be sure, the tech giants and the banks have been on board for a long time and you have seen the adoption of large-scale analytics really start to have a lasting impact among major players in fields like professional sports, the entertainment industry and politics.

And nowadays, most social media platforms have lots of built in analytics that provide instant insight into what’s hot and what’s not.

However, both factual evidence and general observation are showing this is not necessary the case across the board. We still see headlines saying things like “62% of businesses have no data analytics strategy”.

In fact, many small and medium sized companies are still not where they could be when it comes to optimizing their business data.

Three of the biggest challenges they face are not really knowing what question to ask, how to manage the data so that it is well governed and getting the data to decision-makers seamlessly.

Terms like data interpretation, data collection, data governance, and data automation are not concepts easily articulated by many business leaders.

Having a data intelligent business culture is a lot more than just buying a business intelligence tool and putting it on top of Excel.

There needs to be solid foundation in all aspects of the data life cycle, a clean and well governed data lake to house all business data, and the ability to present data impactfully.

I have found that this is often the missing element when organizations are trying to craft an analytics strategy. They focus on technology or they go out and acquire high priced talent, but in the end they struggle because not enough of their decision-makers are on the same page.

As I train groups of professionals, both in public and in in-house trainings, I find most of the attendees do not have a solid foundation in how data is collected, stored and managed. They just know how to run reports, build simple dashboards and share data in ways that do not often influence the audience as intended.

So that is what I have found myself doing hundreds of times the past several years. Helping build that foundation. Connecting the dots between the various phases of the data life cycle and helping define the data value chain. Once an organization has that down, then going out and getting a fancy new tool or bringing on data science makes sense.

Being a data evangelist is all about getting not just 1-2 executives to buy into the power of analytics, but making sure the whole organization is in a place where they can truly optimize their data, become more business intelligent and compete on the same level as the big boys when it comes to making data-driven decisions.

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DMAIPH – Decision-making, Analytics & Intelligence Philippines

Over the past few years businesses in the Philippines have invested heavily in big data, analytics and data science, but still have not achieved the expected outcomes of data-driven companies.

Based on our learnings from the 100’s of Filipino businesses and 10,000s of Filipinos who have taken part in DMAIPH Analytics trainings all across the country, we have crafted a proven, non-technical approach to upskilling your team in analytics.

In 2019, we will be launching two new training programs: (1) Our DMAIPH Applied Analytics Master Class series for executives, leaders and decision-makers and our (2) DMAIPH Applied Analytics Boot Camp series for practicing analysts.

We will feature case studies of real Filipino run business, exercises based on actual analytics challenges being solved by Filipino analysts, and provide you with a copy of my book, Putting Your Data to Work, an analytics guidebook for the Filipino professional
Connect with us via our marketing partner, http://www.sonicanalytics.com to learn about upcoming analytics trainings and events.

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Data-Driven Cultures

Inspired in part by Bernard Marr’s 2010 book, The Intelligent Company, my goal these past several years has been to build and/or be part of data-driven business cultures.

In his book, Bernard advocates for using Evidence-Based Management, that is using the best available data to inform decision-makers. In parallel to this, I have been empowering companies and professionals to empower decision-makers to use more data as well. I call it data-driven decision-making, but at their cores, they are very similar approaches to managing success.

Over the next several blog posts I will share my thoughts on the steps Bernard published. I will be giving my own spin towards more analytics and data-science, two things that I think have accelerated in importance since the book went to print six years ago.

The cornerstone of the book is the five steps to more intelligent decision-making, which are:

  • Step 1. More intelligent strategies – by identifying strategic priorities and agreeing your real information needs
  • Step 2. More intelligent data – by creating relevant and meaningful performance indicators and qualitative management information linked back to your strategic information needs
  • Step 3. More intelligent insights – by using good evidence to test and prove ideas and by analyzing the data to gain robust and reliable insights
  • Step 4. More intelligent communication – by creating informative and engaging management information packs and dashboards that provide the essential information, packaged in an easy-to-read way
  • Step 5. More intelligent decision-making – by fostering an evidence-based culture of turning information into actionable knowledge and real decisions.

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As information and data volumes grow at explosive rates, the challenges of managing this information is turning into a losing battle for most companies. In the end they find themselves drowning in data while thirsting for insights. Combine this with an increasingly severe shortage of talent with analytics, data visualization and good communication skills, things look bleak for companies not adhering to lessons like those suggested in the Intelligent Company.

I get this stuff. In response to a quickening demand for knowledge and know how, I have developed training materials to address these decision-making challenges. The reason I founded DMAI in the first place was to empower more data-driven Decision-Making through the use of Analytics and business Intelligence. I’m happy to help you enable better decision-making in your business and turn it into an Intelligent Company.

Analytics Culture – The key to using analytics in a business is like a secret sauce. 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.

Finding The Time To Talk About Analytics Strategies

One of the biggest frustrations I hear from people when we are talking about how empower more data-driven decision-making in an organization is that no one has enough free time to get serious about analytics.

When facing this kind of challenge, a short presentation full of useful data can be used to start the ball rolling. When people say they are too busy then they are often actually saying I have too many things to keep track of and I am not as organized as I should/could be.

There are indeed times when there is more work than can be done in 40 hours a week, but that is actually not the case in most situations. Most corporate cultures reward those with the “I’m so busy I don’t have time to waste on reports” badge of honor.

To counter this you need to do some research into what are the potential time and cost savings that come from fixing the reports and getting better data to decision-makers. It wont take long to find a lot of numbers to use in your business case after a quick Google search. LinkedIn is also a good place to find lots of supporting documentation.

Once you have that info, you can add it to your own assumptions about what KPIs are not being used or what KPIs are missing from current reporting or which KPIs are miss reporting. This can all be turned into a short, compelling case for others taking the time to talk about broader reporting across the organization.

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To really add some punch to your argument, ask one of the too busy people to give  you a few minutes of time to ask them what more they want/need out of their reports. Hardly anyone is truly happy with the reports they get. Gain a few allies in your crusade.

Most people think that using analytics effectively is all about the technology, but the real secret to success is getting the people on board and on the same page. True analytics centric cultures are based on engagement and that engagement needs a facilitator.

Once you have your story and a few key advocates it will be a lot easier to get closer to the data-driven decision-making you are looking for.  If you need help polishing your story or advice on how to get the engagement of a really tough “I’m too busy” co-worker, let me know. I’m sure I can lend a hand.

Analytics Culture – The key to using analytics in a business is like a secret sauce. 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.