Analytics is an essential activity in almost any organization, and many companies have realized this to such a degree that they employ separate analytics departments to undertake the arduous task of collecting measurable data for almost every aspect of the business.
Yet analytics departments operate in a unique space; in one way they perform tasks that are independent of almost any other department in the organization, yet the completed analysis process output could feed into almost any element of working practices, from recruitment and retention to sales conversion rates. On the other hand, when an analytics department’s true value is laid bare to other sectors of the organization, the issue of infinite demand can soon raise his head; infinite demand in that there is no limit to the number and nature of requests for analytical information that can find its way to an analytics process.
Quite clearly infinite demand is a highly undesirable outcome, as the department itself will soon become overwhelmed, and other departments will lose some degree of autonomy due to the nature of turning everything over to the conclusion of the analysis. What can therefore be done to avoid infinite demand? What is a workable solution?
Techniques for avoiding infinite demand for analytics
“As almost anyone with capacity issues understands, prioritizing is a means of tackling an unworkable situation, not the solution to the situation itself. You are firefighting, not preventing buildings from catching alight,” points out Jill Kazinsky, a project manager at Australian help and State of writing.
An overburdened analytics department can only achieve so much from prioritizing, which is clearly no suitable long-term solution.
In many cases, analytics professionals may try to delegate the task back to the department who requested it, or in other cases, the HR department. From a positive perspective, this encourages the original department to take back control, yet this may also be undesirable in that the same department may not have the expertise to carry out the analysis required.
Avoiding the analytics request
At first, this may seem like it is a poor response to a sincere request for intra-organizational assistance, and often it is. Of course, avoiding the request is unhelpful at best, yet declining the request for analytical intervention is often exactly the right approach in the circumstances, for reasons to be explained.
So, if prioritizing, delegating or avoiding the request totally are not the solution in most cases, what is? There are countless possibilities, but here are just some of the most effective interventions to infinite demand.
Understand the business problem, not the data
In many scenarios, the request for analysis is masking a deeper business problem, or the business’s failure to understand the business problem. In such cases, managers getting to the root of the issue may involve something as simple as talking to those on the front line. Analytics is not always the answer, something simple like talking and observing can be. And herein lies a central tenet of the issue:
“The trend is moving towards analytics as the tool for unearthing the evil in everything, particularly in marketing circles, yet what is happening in many cases is that businesses are looking for the numbers to confirm a problem, when the real challenge and task ahead is solving the problem, not collecting the data itself,” argues Samuel Storis, a senior marketer at Boom Essays and Paper Fellows.
Machine learning technologies
The fact of the matter is that there are already many off-the-shelf machine learning technology solutions that will perform exactly the data analysis you are looking for. A consultancy company can assist in helping you find the perfect solution for your needs, or in the case of a data science organization, can customize the specific intervention you need.
As a pertinent example, if your marketing or sales department comes looking for information regarding conversion rates because they are seeking optimization (a priority for most companies) then it is not the analytics department necessarily that should be handling this request. Indeed, the solution here is specific expertise in the shape of a conversion rate optimization (CRO) professional. If the business does not have one, then recruitment is the solution, not the work of the analytics department.
The analytics challenge
What is clear is that analytics departments have a crucial role to play in the future of most organizations, yet the role is as much in saying ‘no’ as it is in saying ‘yes’.
By guest contributor Ellie Coverdale
Ellie Coverdale is a business and marketing writer with UKWritings.com and Academized.com. She enjoys finding the latest marketing trends and sharing her social media and digital marketing strategies with her readers. She also teaches important writing skills to others at Essayroo.com.