7 analytics habits of highly effective CIOs

Increasing relevance by guiding analytics and big data strategies

By Tony Hamilton, Principal Product Marketing Consultant, SAS

Call them “analytics achievers.” They’re the most effective organizations in using analytics to market products better, improve patient care or reduce fraud. And they share three characteristics. These organizations are more likely to:

  • Have an enterprise-wide analytics strategy.
  • Place a higher priority on investment in analytics.
  • Believe that their IT operation places appropriate value on analytics.

In many cases, those that are not yet analytics achievers have this in common – IT and the lines of business aren’t on the same page when it comes to analytics. IT sees itself as contributing to and guiding analytics strategy, while analytics resources that LOBs rely on increasingly are separate from IT.

This is the picture painted by a revealing IDC study commissioned by SAS, “The CIO’s Chance of a Lifetime: Using Big Data and Analytics as the Ticket to Strategic Relevance.”

IT can play a leading role influencing the data-driven decision-making culture of an organization.

From the IDC report: The CIO’s Chance of a Lifetime: Using Big Data and Analytics as the Ticket to Strategic Relevance

The study states that there are disconnects between IT and LOBs as to the helpfulness of IT in analytics. This implies a lack of communication and different interpretations of what should be in analytics strategy.

Although proper technology is important to analytics, according to the study, mindset and culture are more important. Many organizations move to analytics in response to triggering events, but successful organizations have a stronger, centralized, proactive approach. IT can play a leading role influencing the data-driven decision-making culture of an organization.

Everyone agrees that big data is changing the CIO’s role in analytics and presents new opportunities. As the study states, “the CIO does not hold a monopoly on all things ‘information.’”
Analytics organizations are increasingly headed by new leadership roles that are separate from IT. But the CIO can – and should – play a role. Better analytics project outcomes are obtained by organizations that have an enterprise-wide strategy.
So how do organizations get there? What can a dynamic CIO do to inspire his or her organization to become an Analytics Achiever?

Here’s a list, of seven habits of highly effective CIOs:

  1. Take an active role in the use of analytics. Be a champion and a supporter of these efforts inside the organization. Be able to articulate the organization’s analytics strategy and IT’s role.
  2. Establish IT as a trusted adviser for analytical methods and experts. Don’t be seen a roadblock to analytics initiatives, but a helper. Get involved in the conversations taking place between line-of-business people and analytics specialists.
  3. Set the foundation in IT to support analytics in the enterprise. Enable technology that help the lines of business use analytics for business benefit.
  4. Gather, integrate and normalize diverse data sets. Help establish the ground rules for version control and single point of truth.
  5. If possible, create data advisory boards and steering teams. Teamwork matters. Give everyone a chance to participate.
  6. Help the business measure and assess outcomes from analytical projects. Metrics matter for any joint strategy approach.
  7. Share the story around analytics experiences. Let everyone know, from the CEO on down, how IT and the business are working together and how that has helped the company become an analytics achiever.

7 analytics habits of highly effective CIOs

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