Top Three Characteristics of Data Driven Organizations

Cardinal Path article
I was sitting on a flight from San Diego to Newark and then Stockholm. From huddle leader at XChange to keynote speaker at the eMetrics Summit. Several hours to think back at two days of intense and focused conversations on digital analytics with the brightest in the field of web/digital/online analytics. Analytics maturity was a recurring topic – those who know me for my work on the Online Analytics Maturity Model will immediately understand how pleased I was to listen and share with the likes of Cabelas, Adobe, eBay, Facebook, Macies, Capital One, Intuit as well as vendors, consultants and representative from the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative. I love my job!

Data Driven Companies

I gleaned some notes about the top indicators of a mature, data-driven organization:

  • Customer insight: Mature organizations have a Customer Insight/Analytics team looking beyond online; merging with any relevant data sources as necessary. Even where BI is well entrenched, the analytics practices are significantly different: velocity is much greater; quick & fast decisions capabilities are favoured as part of a more agile, continuous improvement process; and they report to the CMO (Chief Marketing Office) or CRO (Chief Research Officer)
  • Top influencers: They do not simply answer c-level requests, they actively influence and participate in how hypothesis are elaborated and questions framed so the research & insight provided is the most strategic and valuable to the business.
  • Business analysis: They do not define themselves by the tools they use or the channel they analyze. Their role is closer to one of business analyst: given a business context and an hypothesis, they will work with business stakeholders and subject matter experts, seek out any relevant and valuable piece of information to offer the most optimal and realistic insight and recommendations. From this perspective, low value tasks such as reporting are largely automated and business users are educated and self-served.

A final characteristic that came out of our conversation is a rigorous and genuine interest to respect their clients – they have strong ethical practices.

They are also humble – despite what is perceived as a high level of digital analytics maturity, the reality is there are always some of the six pillars of the Online Analytics Maturity Model which are lower than others – management buy-in and proper alignment of expectations among them. Staffing, mostly in terms of hiring and retaining experienced and skilled analysts, is a also a top concern.

Being data-driven doesn’t mean there is a blanketed and uniform coating of data-dictatorship to all decisions made. Being data-driven is the art and ability to leverage all business assets to exercise judgment in the decision process.

Stephane Hamel is a seasoned consultant and authority in online analytics, speaker and teacher, his next speaking appearance includes keynoting at the GAUGE conference in New York, eMetrics New York and London as well at IMC Vancouver and the BI Conference in Montreal. You can also register for the popular full-day workshop Roadmap to online analytics success presented in New York.

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