McKinsey suggest (see Why you need a digital data architecture to build a sustainable digital business) that organizations focused on digital business should put data and analytics at the center of their digital business. Oh yes, indeed. Good to see that we all agree. The title of my presentation shared at Gartner IT/Symposium this last few months was, “Putting Data and Analytics at the Heart of your Digital Business Platform”. Of course I can’t share the presentation here since it is for our clients, but I can say for sure that it goes beyond what McKinsey are saying. For example, the deck itself sits at the apex of an entire team of 40+ focused just on data and analytics, and then 100’s more who embed data and analytics into their various business process and industry specific research.
I will offer this though:
- We might be talking about data and analytics too much
- What is the difference between a road map and an atlas?
The first point suggests that the phrase, “Data-driven” sounds too techy. It sounds too much like classic IT. I for one don’t want to be data-driven. I want to be customer-driven or market-driven. Data is to be exploited, not looked upon as a master. We all know what we mean when someone says. “data driven” but I think our use of “data and analytics” is overblown.
Another example concerns AI. The hype in the market is at very high levels. Yet AI is not to be scared off – and more importantly what “is” AI is just broad and complex. Little bits of code that operate as suggestion engines are forms of AI. But there are of course many more examples of AI. The hype however tends to lead to organizations focusing on the wrong things. For example, just knowing the train is late (via a nice cute colorful dashboard) is great; but unless you have the ability to execute different, all the money in the world on the best analytics will be moot.
The second point is a favorite one of mine currently. Everyone wants a road map. Every client (well, many) wants a silver bullet. Everyone wants the answer as to ‘what to do next’. But to draw a road map one assumes one has all the options, the possible routes and paths available. Else it’s not a choice. So to offer choice we need an atlas. For me, the atlas is more useful right now. What is the overall atlas for digital business, as evidenced by latest thinking in data and analytics? With that in mind, I might be in a better spot to determine the actual road map for an organization, given what it did last, what its capabilities are, what its level of maturity is at, and what its goals are. So road maps for me are not possible, or optimized, until an effective atlas is known. I presented on one of these at a recent Gartner CIO Summit.
Even the atlas will change from time to time. For example, we are working right now on reviewing how things like master data management, application data management, information governance, information stewardship, data hubs, and data quality are all overlapping. This suggests a new atlas is forming and once that is clear, all new road maps will need to be update. Looks like an exciting Q1 2018 and some fun Data and Analytics Summits!