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Achieving Analytics Maturity: 3 Tips from the Experts

By Fern Halper, TDWI Research Director for Advanced Analytics

What does it take to achieve analytics maturity? Earlier this week, Dave Stodder and I hosted a webcast with a panel of vendor experts from Cloudera, Microstrategy, and Tableau. These three companies are all sponsors of the Analytics Maturity Model, an analytics assessment tool that measures where your organization stands relative to its peers in terms of analytics maturity.

There were many good points made during the discussion. A few particularly caught my attention, because they focused on the organizational aspects of analytics maturity, which are often the most daunting.

Crawl, walk, run: TJ Laher, from Cloudera, pointed out that their customers often crawl, walk, and then run to analytics. I’ve said before that there is no silver bullet for analytics. TJ stressed the need for organizations to have a clear vision of strategic objectives and to start off with some early projects that might take place over a six-month time frame. He spoke about going deep with the use cases that you have and then becoming more advanced, such as in bringing in new data types. Cloudera has observed that success in these early projects often helps to facilitate the walking and then ultimately the running (i.e., becoming more sophisticated) with analytics.

Short-term victories have long-term implications: Vijay Anand from MicroStrategy also touched upon the idea of early wins and pointed out that these can have long-term implications. He pointed out that it is important to think about these early victories in terms of what is down the road. For instance, say the business implements a quick BI solution. That’s great. However, business and IT need to work together to build a certified environment to avoid conflicting and non-standardized information. It is important to think it through.

IT builds the car and business drives it. Ian Coe, from Tableau, also talked about IT and the business working together. He said that organizations achieve success and become mature when teams work together collaboratively on a number of prototypes using an agile approach. Tableau believes that the ideal model for empowering users involves a self-service BI approach. Business people are responsible for doing analysis. IT is responsible for managing and securing data. This elevates IT from the role of dashboard factory to architect and steward of the company’s assets. IT can work in quick cycles to give business what they need and check in with business regularly.

Of course, each expert came to the discussion table with their own point of view. And, these are just some of the insights that the panel provided. The Webinar is available on demand at tdwi.org. I encourage you to listen to it and, of course, take the assessment!

Posted by Fern Halper, Ph.D. on February 6, 2015


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