The unnoticed analyst
Can analytics succeed while going unnoticed?
The classic Harvard Business School case “Otisline (A)”1 begins with the quote, “… our objective is to go unnoticed.”
Our blind spot
Remember – RAND’s sole funding source was Air Force generals (i.e., pilots). If we are to optimize the value generated by analytics, we are going to have to humanize our in-organization behaviors. In today’s world, analytics is a product/service that must be sold.
Salespeople will tell you that the basis of sales success is having a great product (which we have) and a strong relationship beachhead from which to pitch the product.
George Washington knew that ultimate victory would not be accomplished on the battlefield, but in the hearts and minds of those engaged. In other words, public relations matters. Washington, despite losing more battles than he won, was eulogized as being “first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.” When you are gone, will analytics be first in the hearts and minds of your CEO, your CMO and your board of directors?
True victory lies in capturing the imagination, respect and energy of a broad and diverse set of stakeholders, including suppliers, customers and executives.
As analysts, we need to expand the organization’s “smartwidth” – its capability to understand and act on information. Broadband gives us more information. Smartwidth gives your organization more understanding regarding what all this information means.
That’s what executives are looking for: meaning and insight from existing information sources. And that’s what analytics provides. It’s up to us to make that connection clear and start getting noticed as the smartwidth source. Our objective, after all, is NOT to go unnoticed.
1 F.W. McFarlan and D.B. Stoddard (July 15, 1990). Harvard Business School 1995-96 Catalog of Best-Selling Teaching Material; Ref No. 9-186-304. The case instructs students in the value of deconstructing an industry into its component parts. (The elevator industry can be divided into two buckets – new equipment sales and service.) The case illustrates how information technology, innovatively, insightfully and courageously deployed, can change the structure of an industry.
2 Alex Abella, Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire (NY: Harcourt Inc., 2008).
Analytics provides the answers
Only analytics can provide the answers. Find out how in this SAS white paper.
This story appears in the Fourth Quarter 2008 issue of