Prioritize work
Reporting and analytics capabilities are being included in more types of software, so individuals and businesses can measure their performance and optimize outcomes. To enable a sound enterprise strategy, Capgemini gathers the stakeholders from its various operating units together to understand their analytics requirements from an operational standpoint. Capgemini then has each department come up with a Top 10 list of what they want to achieve.

“We start off trying to understand what the prioritized needs of the business units are and then we work with the IT or data groups within the organization to try to understand the pieces of data that would be required,” said Goutham Belliappa, business information management data integration and reporting practice leader at Capgemini. “We do it by business unit and operating unit to understand the commonality which informs what we want to ingest in the data lake or data ecosystem, and then we start delivering outcomes on the road map.”

The level of business value often determines what projects receive higher or lower priority, but many organizations are still struggling to tie analytics to business outcomes. In a recent Forrester Research survey of enterprise architects, 74% of respondents said their organizations aspire to be data-driven, but only 29% said they’re good at translating analytical results into measurable business outcomes.

“When we work with organizations, we talk about the use cases that are going to drive value for you—things you could or should be doing that would drive value for your organization,” said KPMG’s Gusher.

KPMG conducts “idea generation workshops” in which the biggest business opportunities and challenges are discussed along with whether or not Big Data and advanced analytics address those opportunities and challenges. The point is to generate a list of use cases that have estimated values attached to them.

One of Ernst & Young’s clients refuses to proceed with a project unless it’s able to identify how it’s going to measure the success of the project in dollars and cents.

“We’ve helped them execute 220 projects over the last four years,” said Ernst & Young’s Johnson. “They’ve documented that those projects have created US$1.3 billion of value, and all of those projects are tied to business decisions. They also keep a pipeline of projects with estimated values they think they’ll create. If projects can’t get tied to value, they’re deprioritized.”

Understanding what exists
The entire scope of data, reporting and analytics being used may well be unknown in an organization. Sometimes data is available, but the people (or some of the people) who need access to it can’t get access to it, or it may be underutilized or unused for whatever reason.

“Doing an inventory of your data requires you to understand what’s in the systems of record and that you bring them together, so you leverage all of them for the relevant insights you’re looking for,” said Jennifer Belissent, principal analyst at Forrester Research.