‘Operationalizing Analytics’ was the topic of the lively July 9th panel discussion between Garry Przyklenk, James Niehaus and moderator Jen Evans. During the Digital Analytics Association’s second Southern Ontario Chapter meeting, the panel strategized ways to further integrate analytics into internal processes and systems. The takeaway being that at the end of the day, people make decisions and whenever you deal with people, politics will surely intervene.
…and it’s up to you to fight the political battle to create a data-driven culture.
People underestimate the influence other people have on their success. Working with data can produce many actionable insights, but unless you spend time building relationships with the right people, these opportunities will be overlooked. By joining forces with the decision makers, you will have the power to conquer organizational members that actively avoid analytics.
The audience coined this avoidance tactic as “willful ignorance” within an organization. They asked the panel: ‘How do you defend your data against willful ignorance?’
Although James’ initial response was comparable to a scene from ‘Game of Thrones’ (a violent, battle filled TV series), his main point was if you want people to use and trust your data you must first understand company politics & culture. A crucial element in driving the pursuit of analytics opportunities is being able to identify who the decision makers are.
Garry expanded on this point by explaining how to approach decision makers:
- Demonstrate the capabilities of your analytics infrastructure. Having the right tools in your analytics toolbox can help answer your questions, provide insights and improve decision making.
- Educate on the opportunities available to improve your marketing campaigns.
Through demonstration and education, you can deter the apprehension towards analytics by reducing the defense against necessary changes. Overall, people do not like change because it usually means more work. They may disguise their dislike for change by questioning the validity of your results or how dependable the analytics are compared to their strongly held beliefs. The key to breaking these barriers is to gain the respect of your data by educating co-workers and decision makers. Once educated, people can then take advantage of the opportunities the analytics has to offer.
Sometimes the best way to educate about the opportunities analytics offers is to show results. You may need to operate in stealth mode to get results upfront. From there you can reinforce your decision maker with opportunities and proven results. You will only be able to implement change throughout the divisions if the commander supports the decision to do so. Therefore, it is your mission to prove that analytics drives results.
So remember, if you are fighting to integrate analytics in the decision making process, do take advantage of our ‘War Tactics‘:
- Find out who the decision makers are; they will help you navigate the organizational mindfield successfully.
- Demonstrate and educate to gain respect for analytics and resolve apprehension towards change.
- Do not underestimate the power of politics – find allies and maintain those partnerships by offering results and supporting the decision makers.
Thanks Garry, James and Jen for teaching us how to advance beyond knowing the analytics and giving us the real-world insight to put our analytics plans into action.