There is a common notion that analytics is the solution to any number of business problems. Even the mention of analytics always seems to garner a special buzz because of the potential to transform the space where its concepts, tools, and best practices are being applied.
Building an analytics organization is both an exciting and entrepreneurial undertaking. This is especially true in the case of building an analytics organization within an existing, larger company. Regardless of your technical background, and whether you are launching the organization independently or within a larger company, the ultimate task is to launch a startup.
Eric Reis, NYT best-selling business author, defines that task this way: a startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty. Reis also shares the term “intrapreneurs” to describe entrepreneurs who operate inside an established organization. If you’re an intrapreneur who has been tasked with building an analytics organization within your company, here are a few of the biggest challenges you may face along the way and recommendations to address them.
Challenges & Recommendations
1. Fight the perception that financial commitment alone is enough
Once a budget has been cleared to fund your analytics organization, it’s natural for interests and expectations to surface. Certainly, colleagues will inquire about how they can become involved and to what degree their involvement will benefit them professionally. To only mention the amount of money invested is both unsatisfactory and incomplete. Money can buy you the tools, money can even buy you the knowledge – but who will create the strategy to understand what concepts/tools are to be taught? Once that strategy is created, who will then teach members of your organization to apply what they have learned? And how much time will be allowed to strategize and teach? Whether your analytics organization will ultimately provide a service or a product, it can be easy to think that the financial commitment to fund the venture is enough.
Recommendation: The most significant commitment you can obtain from your company leadership comes in the form of experienced human capital. Be it a third-party who specializes in analytics or senior employees who possess deep analytics proficiency, these people will be able to provide strategic direction and build the organization with greater efficiency. This caliber of human capital, fully dedicated to establishing the organization, will provide greater overall stability and direction to the promising startup being planted.