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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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.