5 Tips for Building a Rock-Solid D&A Program

When data and analytics works in tandem, organizations make smarter, data-driven decisions that improve business outcomes. Consider these five ways to help your customers build a strong data and analytics program.

  • January 11, 2023 | Author: Hanna Hurley
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Businesses have an advantage when they understand where and how to use data and analytics (D&A). Whether your company is combining data from a recent merger or acquisition, expanding into a new global market, launching a product line, or tackling an existing data silo in your organization, the D&A team must be in sync. 

Follow these five tips to start realizing the power of D&A. 

1. Organize your D&A landscape. Data landscapes are never cookie cutter. They can be multiple data lakes, a data fabric, un-orchestrated and non-structured data, and data still residing in spreadsheets and on local servers. The D&A program lives or dies by how well the data is organized and grounded by the business’ goals. 

2. Be bold and willing to take risks. Actions to consider:

  • Re-prioritize D&A projects in flight to ensure they're tightly aligned with business goals
  • Bring fresh ideas to line-of-business leaders and executives that push them to think creatively about D&A
  • Consider self-service options 
  • Start adding third-party data that will supplement and enhance your data sets for better analytic results

3. Surround yourself with D&A enthusiasts. Here are places to look:

  • Chief Financial Officer: D&A validates financial projections and steers the organization from a financial point of view. 
  • Supply Chain Strategist, VP: D&A improves and automates planning processes. Predictive analytics can help these leaders better understand where and why the supply chain fails and how they can adjust for the future. 
  • Operations or Manufacturing Director: D&A can improve processes with real-time insight into operational breakdowns that identify where they have staff or materials outages. 
  • Chief Risk Officer: D&A helps ensure compliance with rules and regulations. They want reports that monitor risks and the ability to drill down into potential compliance issues. 
  • Sustainability Officer: High-quality D&A helps create reports to track sustainability goals. They may also want to integrate external data with internal data to track carbon footprint or emissions.  

4. Avoid making technology your strategy. D&A is about the business—not the technology behind it. Whenever possible, identify how the D&A team contributes to the organization’s business goals. For example: 

  • The new analytics platform will identify which markets offer the most potential for our new product line.
  • The data modeling program will integrate our CRM data and manufacturing data to help us understand supply and ensure we can meet demand.   
  • A strong data science team and analytics experts will deliver insights and learnings across all our business units.  

5. Look at every business problem from a D&A lens. Making data-driven business decisions is a new and maturing practice. Not everyone understands the power of D&A, so don’t hesitate to be an evangelist. Block out time to educate and advocate for how D&A helps the business. Monthly meetings that showcase how D&A is solving large and small problems will spread the word and create an environment where every question or problem starts with a visit to the D&A team. 

Ultimately, that’s your end goal: leading a team that addresses business problems and opportunities through its D&A. 


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