This year, companies driven by advanced analytics and a robust data culture have proven their resilience in the face of global disruption. “Organizations are standing up analytics capabilities in a matter of weeks to inform business responses to Covid-19 challenges and prepare for the future,” McKinsey describes. “These capabilities are expected to offer between $9.5 trillion and $15.4 trillion in annual economic value.”

Successful analytics are now critical to all companies’ futures, no matter their industry. But few business leaders understand what’s required to ensure analytics solutions truly take root and flourish within their ranks.

Winning analytics solutions are those that align with the individual roles of both technical and business users. These solutions feature specialized tools for each of these roles that connect them all to a centralized analytics resource. But companies must overcome inherent barriers to success within their organizations to make this possible.

Can You Bridge The Gap Between Analytics Ambitions And Companywide Success?

It’s easy to paint a rosy picture of analytics success, but most companies struggle to make it effective — and keep it that way. Even companies that have identified winning analytics solutions struggle with the realities of operationalizing those tools and with scaling them beyond small, isolated success.

“Most analytics projects fail to provide real business value,” INFORMS reports. “[The] failure rate based on interviews with analysts in large organizations was closer to 85%.” This is a particular struggle for older organizations, such as hospital systems, that feature deeply embedded legacy data tools.

Key Steps To Drive Analytics Adoption Within Your Organization

How can these organizations ensure analytics finally take root and flourish among their critical teams? Here are five strategies that decision-makers must prioritize, plus practical tips for realizing these goals.

1. Get your employees on board for data literacy

Leaders must proactively support data literacy for all employees, albeit at varying levels of sophistication. When many or all employees can use analytics tools and can understand insights from analytics — or at least can “speak the language” of analytics when communicating with analytics users — companies realize “tremendous levels of innovation and efficiency,” Harvard Business Review reports.

2. Commit to a single, enterprise-wide solution

Data silos are a classic problem among enterprise companies, but it takes more than new technologies to overcome them. Business leaders must help employees across the organization change their habits to ensure new best practices take hold.

That means aligning all employees with a universal, centralized analytics tool in a manner that drives individual results. When business leaders commit all employees to this “single version of the truth,” they empower decision-making at all levels of their organizations. They create a foundation for long-term business success.

3. Align augmented analytics with individual employee success

Decision-makers must implement analytics tools with the success of their individual employees in mind, not the other way around. That means including functions like “search analytics,” which allow employees to track down answers and build reports using simple search tools rather than seek the help of a data scientist or IT professional.

Empowering employees in this way may enable them to “turn insights into actions without having to leave whatever business or productivity application they have open,” as Forrester describes. That means ongoing improvements to both individual efficiencies and broader business outcomes.

4. Include built-in training functions so users can progressively develop critical analytics skills

Business users’ first exposure to your analytics tools will shape their perception of the tools’ practicality and the degree to which they will utilize those tools for their own success. If you first align employees with functions that help them — that they can understand and that proactively train them on using those tools — then they are more likely to embrace those tools long term.

With this new approach, business leaders don’t need to hire only strictly analytics experts to get the most of their solutions, either. They will be better positioned to ensure a continuous state of analytics adoption, even as teams evolve.

5. Create a culture of trust

Business leaders need to instill confidence in their employees — not only in the tools they provide but also in their genuine desire to support employees’ individual success. Trust shapes employees’ individual decisions, which may impact their use of the analytics tools business leaders provide.

Analytics can’t take root if employees don’t trust them. Success in this area ensures employees throughout the organization “will augment their own judgment and intuition with algorithms’ recommendations to arrive at better answers than either humans or machines could reach on their own,” as Harvard Business Review describes.

The Key Is Beginning With Realistic Steps

No single person whips themselves into shape on their first few days of a new exercise routine. All large-scale decisions must begin with a deeper understanding of where we each are in terms of progress today. When it comes to business leaders and their employees, analytics are no different.

With the right tools in place, focus on small successes and progress with individual employee growth in mind. Embrace tiny, incremental gains to which you can commit, and celebrate progress along the way. You will be well on the path to a healthier and more resilient analytics environment, and you’ll also be ready to take on the disruptive challenges of the future.

 


This post originally appeared on Forbes.com

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