Very interesting article on “The challenge of change” in the 3Q 2010 issue of sascom magazine.
Renee Nocker, the director who leads the business analytics effort at CPG giant Kimberley-Clark Corp., shares her insights on value realization.
Contrary to popular belief, technology is only one element of transformation. Surrounding the software and hardware are personal and professional issues such as changes in role definitions, skill sets and processes. Ironically, there are leaps of faith required, even in the very effort to infuse more fact-based decision making into a company’s operations.
In the article Nocker talks about 3 steps to value realization, summarized here.
1. Making the business case
It’s hard to put a price tag on the abilities to make faster, better decisions, predict where business is going, and optimize outcomes – you know it needs to be done, but you need to gather evidence. Quantifying the value of analytics can be difficult. Ask business leaders to quantify what new capabilities would mean for them e.g., generate x million in new sales, reduce inventory by y – then come up with a proxy. Nocker used this approach and came up with a $5m business benefit – but actually delivered $23m within a year.
2. Changing the mindset
Bridge the IT and business gap by having a team of consultants that live and breathe the processes, strategies and needs of your business units. Educate business leaders on how they can leverage analytic capabilities in the future while meeting current priorities today. Create short term wins that generate value immediately. Create Rapid Value Realization teams that pilot projects in selected business units to help them understand capabilities in their own context. Constantly think about how you can scale these pilots gathering stakeholder buy-in one step at a time.
3. Developing new skills
Combine the quantitative talent of a statistical analyst with the business mindset of an MBA. Look for and encourage employees that have a passion for understanding cause and effect and a mindset of continuous improvement. These new groups of consultants need to be able to hear a business requirement and understand what data and technology will be required to make it happen. Use shadowing to help people watch, listen and learn the new skills from role models. Over time, you will see which people naturally gravitate towards client facing roles, and those that prefer to focus on the back end development of the solution. As a team, they’ll get the job done. Another idea shared by Nocker – have business people attend the same conferences with your consultants. This will help ensure they have a common understanding of what analytic nirvana could look like.
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