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Starting up your Data Analytics Centre of Excellence


Posted on: March 21, 2018 by

This is the 4th article in a series of 5 publications on organizations’ Data Analytics strategy. The series, called ‘Moving beyond point solutions and pilots in Data Analytics’ addresses five challenges. These are challenges that organizations most experience when they want to upgrade their Data Analytics from point solutions to strategic, data driven and coherent governed activities.

This fourth publication is explaining how you should optimize the governance and processes behind your Data Analytics Centre of Excellence within your organization, to fully benefit from its potential.

As we often see with our clients, identified business problems are solved with point solutions. The Data Scientist who executes the point solutions to solve ad hoc problems is not able to solve these problems according to a standard approach. No harm done for the cowboy-style pioneering phase. But, once your point solutions appear to be sub-optimal; once your colleague is building a different solution to the same problem; once the demand exceeds your capacity, you’re in big trouble – you need a standard approach to deliver quality, act transparent and be predictable to the rest of your organization. For these goals to be reached, you need to develop processes.

How to proceed to deliver the standard approach?

  1. Indicate the urgency: Starting up your Data Analytics Centre of Excellence might not be necessary when working with three Data Scientists (for more info on this: read our previous article on the all-round team needed for your Data Analytics)
  2. Handle that Agile mindset: Act as a start-up
  3. Determine your customers: Which customers can you define within your organization? These are the people you want to deliver value.
  4. Contract your suppliers: Your services are influenced by the suppliers you depend on. Make the aware, negotiate with them on shared goals.
  5. Connect the operational dots: All relevant stakeholders within your organization need to be informed about your Data Analytics Centre of Excellence.

Determine your customers

As the Data Analytics Centre of Excellence is the service provider for internal stakeholders, mapping your clients can provide useful insights. Ever thought of HR, Consumer and Technology as your internal clients? Well, they are!

After having identified your internal stakeholders, meet them, make agreements and discuss mutual expectations on your shared goals to be clear on what to expect from your collaboration.

Contract your suppliers

Think as a start-up: Just like new businesses, your Data Analytics Centre of Excellence’s success is depending on your suppliers. Like the IT department servicing your hardware and delivering your data, software application vendors, HR hiring the right resources and many others. All these suppliers need to be contracted by mutual agreements, letting them help you.

Be aware: Just as with start-ups, all suppliers are determining the success of your Data Analytics Centre of Excellence’s delivery.

Connect the operational dots

The final benefits are reached by connecting the operational dots

  • How should we deliver as a Data Analytics Centre of Excellence? Traditional delivery (requirements, planning, building, testing) or Agile?
  • How should we apply maintenance to our models? Indeed, every change in data, business rules or software update can influence your Data Analytics Centre of Excellence’s models
  • How should we educate our Data Analytics Centre of Excellence’s members?

As a Data Analytics Centre of Excellence, you need a standard approach in order to deliver quality, act transparent and be predictable to the rest of your organization.

The research for this article, which is a series of 5 with the collective title 'Moving beyond point solutions and pilots in Data Analytics', has been done by my team at Atos Consulting. So the thought of the gentle courtesy goes out to Tom Konings, David van Steen, Marcel van de Pol and Carline Nauta.

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