Being A Great Analyst > Key Attribute #4 > Be Enchanting

If you are a good analyst or a decision-maker that uses analytics, being enchanting makes your job much, much easier.

One key to using data and analysis effectively is understanding how to enchant people by being likable, trustworthy and using data and analysis to further a great cause.

A few years back, I came across a book by Guy Kawasaki called Enchantment. It is my all-time favorite business book.

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Guy Kawasaki is a marketing expert and used to be Apple’s Chief Evangelist (aka Chief Marketing Officer). At Apple their goal is to convert customers to being loyal to Apple products for life.

In Enchantment, Guy talks about how Apple and other successful companies are able to create enchantment in their customer base that fuels passionate and long lasting relationships.

As an analyst there are many lessons that you can draw from Enchantment to being an incredibly impactful member of your organization.

One of the pillars of Enchantment is being Trustworthy. As an analyst, you have to be trustworthy for people to want to follow the direction your data and analysis point.

Your data has to be clean, valid, and accurate.

Your analysis has to be easy to understand, easy to replicate and easy to boil down into a few bullet points.

When you accomplish these things you are creating trust. Getting decision-makers to listen to what the data is telling them comes when the analysts have their trust.

That’s just one part of Enchantment. I use many examples of how to apply Guy’s concept to data and analysis in my training classes and in my company.

If you are looking for a way to add value to your company, which in turn can make the business more successful then this book is a must read.

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.

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Why Analytics Projects Fail: #4 – Lack of a Champion

A lot of time analytics project fail because there is no designated champion for the project.

I see a lot of money wasted on analytics technology because there is no one in the business who masters the technology. Who knows how to use it better than anyone else and knows what more can be done if other people become experts.

Good analysts are curious above all else. In the right place, they can do amazing things to drive innovation, increase profit, optimize processes and build market share. When you don’t have a a champion the outcome of any analytics project will be in doubt.

The most curious person in the organization should be the analytics champion because they love to go out and find the data to answer any business question that comes up.

If your analytics project doesn’t have a champion, then you most likely see a general lack of focus, an unclear vision and an uninterested leadership. Can you be that champion? If you think you can then do the Moneyball and Enchantment things from my last blog. They will help you gain your champion’s belt.

When you read Enchantment, you will start to understand that an analytics champion does as much influencing with their analysis as they do reporting.

Another way t5.5o be seen as the champion, is to make friends with people. Dropping off a box of donuts with the IT developers or sending thank you notes to project team members who went above and beyond is just as important as mastering the coding language used by your new analytics tools.

I keep a lot of analytics books on my desk. I make it obvious that I am always thinking about data and how to use it to improve what we do. I share a lot of content about analytics on social media. People know me as the data guy. You want to be like that if you want to be crowned Analytics Champion.

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: #3 – Lack of Management Support

Nothing sucks more for an analyst than taking on an analytics project without support from above. Great analysts are generally only great if they have bosses who advocate for more analytics.

If no one at the top really understands the benefits of implementing your project, if the leadership will continue to use their gut in decision-making regardless of what your project achieves, then start updating your resume. This outcome happens often when the company does not have a business culture supportive of data-driven decision-making.

In this day and age, good analysts are hard to come by…. You can make more money and be happier somewhere else. Trust me. The chances of you being able to turn analytics naysayers into big data believers is highly unlikely.

That said, if you chose to give it a try… here are a few thoughts on how to get management to become more supportive of your analytics project.

Watch the Brad Pitt movie Moneyball. It will inspire you. Read the book Enchantment by Guy Kawaskai. It will empower you. Im not joking. You cant do this on your own.

After that, then you need to do a few things.

First find the person in upper management most likely to get on board. Ask them to help you. Show them data that will outline the better new world after your project is complete. Tell them about analytics success stories (like Moneyball). Let them see your passion for data-driven decision-making. You need  Brad Pitt.

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Next, using the concept of Enchantment, determine what is it about you and your project that will build trust. Will it create more transparency? Will it mitigate risk? Something that demonstrates how this project will increase the level of trust between everyone.

You also need to be likeable. Your project needs to be likeable too. What is it about the project that will make people happy? Who gets a better report, faster and with more useful data? Who gets to start using a business dashboard to make quicker and better decisions? What will each of the stakeholders like about this project.

And then you roll out the great cause. The monetary value generated from implantation. The level of risk mitigated. The better intelligence on competitors or about your market. What will be that great cause?

So now you are in a better position to be Jonah Hiil and go start changing minds and swinging opinions about your analytics project.

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.

Is Analytics more an art or is it more a science? 2 of 3

gapminder-data-visualization-psfk1 - CopyRecently, a friend of mine replied to a post asking me for more details about how I would analyze and mitigate risk in a business…. “the details are a little thin. As a former professor of business decision science, I would like to read more about the model building tools and techniques of how you do it.”

My reply was “That’s a great question Chris. As a blogger I try to not go into too much detail in these posts as most of my audience is relatively unfamiliar with concepts like Big Data, Business Intelligence Applications and Predictive Analytics. That said, I can think of a couple of ways to reply to your comment. I often say that Analytics is as much an art as it is a science. So, I will craft two blog response one for the artists and one for the scientists.” And then I will conclude with my own unique approach to analytics.

So yesterday we covered the science side, today lets look at the art side. They say a picture is worth 1000 words, well I agree and would take things further and say a good pie chart is worth 10000 rows of data. 🙂

Analytics as an art form is a more appealing to the average person, because most people don’t like math. They are afraid of having to use excel and rows and rows of data confuses them. This is why we have analytics, so people who do like math, numbers and excel can figure things out for the majority who don’t.

One of the big buzzwords going around right now is storytelling. Businesses need to engage customers in the way people are engaged by a good story. Marketing team are charged with connecting with an audience in the same way a great film maker or author does. And to do this, marketers have to be very good at getting their data and analytics to a point where it can tell that story.

Data visualization is one of the most powerful skills an analyst can use. Whether it be by using charts and graphs in excel, an info graphic or a business intelligence tool like Tableau that creates data visualizations; analysts can now be artists as much as scientists.

So what does this have to do with my friend Chris’s question about business decision science. It used to be that most decision were made after a long process of drafting requirements for the IT team, a long development cycle and static reporting put into place. However, that’s old school. Now good leaders and decision-makers access data themselves and do a lot of their analysis by playing around with the data.

Knowing what data to pull, how to analyze it for patterns and trends and putting into a format where it can be used by decision makers is still the same, what’s different if the ability to get it to tell a story to the audience. My all time favorite master of data visualization is Dr. Hans Rosling, If you don’t know who he is, check out his site http://www.gapminder.org

Watching him in action is the best way to see why I think that analytics is more of an art then a science. You can have all the data in the world, and you can have great analytics talent working with it using cutting edge technology. But if you can’t use that data to influence your audience in powerful ways, then you are missing the boat.