Staying focused on solving business problems was the pragmatic start, and the other crucial element was having very high-level executive support from the beginning. From a governance perspective, those are two key levers to drive value: focus on actions and decisions that will generate value and have high-level executive sponsorship.
The ideal team to do analytics is a collaboration between an experienced data scientist,19 a person steeped in the area of the business where the challenge needs to be solved, and an IT person with expertise in the data in that particular area of the business.
A joint study by MIT Sloan and the IBM Institute for Business Value developed several recommendations.20 The first is that you start with your biggest and highest-value business challenge. The next recommendation is to ask a lot of questions about that challenge in order to understand what’s going on or what could be going on. Then you go out and look for what data you might have that’s relevant to that challenge. Finally, you determine which analytic technique can be used to analyze the data and solve the problem.
Because most companies have constraints on the amount of money and skills available for projects, estimating the ROI can provide a better differentiator for selecting the project with the highest potential impact than relying on instincts. Estimating an analytics project’s ROI involves both capturing the project costs and measuring the value. As mentioned earlier in this chapter, value driver trees are an effective technique for measuring value.21
Analytics changes the way you approach your business and becomes an integral part of the way you manage and transform your business.