I led an analytical culture track at the SAS Global Forum Executive Conference last month in Washington, DC. I talked with leaders in fields as diverse as healthcare, chemical manufacturing and government. Although these organizations have very different operating models, their challenges, comments and questions were similar. They all recognized they’re not getting the maximum value from their technology investment. Yet they’re eager to use technology to gain competitive advantage.
In listening to participant questions, I realized they’re still concerned about data warehousing challenges. There was a time when getting maximum value out of technology meant initiating an all-encompassing data warehouse project, often with insurmountable political and budgetary hurdles. Time to implementation stretched into years. Some of the most innovative analytic successes emerged out of sophisticated business units, faced with this challenge, taking a more a pragmatic approach to information management.
Today’s organizations realize that future analytic success involves working with all business units aligned around data-driven decision making. The technology to do that without a single data warehouse exists. But does the political willpower?
From my conversations at SAS Global Forum, the answer is definitely yes. There is strong desire to avoid “boil-the-ocean” analytic and data management projects while still working toward an enterprise-wide approach. Organizations increasingly understand that it doesn’t need to be all or nothing. They see that they can work incrementally toward analytical maturity. As I noted at the Executive Conference and in my book, not only can they do this, they must.