Food for thought when creating an Analytical Roadmap
An analytical roadmap is essentially a plan of action outlining data-driven value creation and process optimization that will help your company achieve a competitive advantage. Companies with a strong online presence benefit greatly from a clear analytical roadmap. This blog will briefly guide you through some important points to keep in mind when building an analytical roadmap and will help you avoid unnecessary pitfalls.
Creating an Analytical Roadmap
Marketing- and e-commerce departments must continually improve their performance to meet changing customer expectations by making the data-driven investment decisions and forecasting emerging trends. When making investment decisions based on analytics, it is important to gather expert knowledge of relevant subjects and to collaborate with the different departments.
Consider the following:
- Transparency and understandability are key to the successful implementation of an analytical roadmap. Within the company, the goal of analytics will vary among user levels. The executive level, for example, will want to understand emerging trends and the impact of business decisions or investments, whereas the sales staff will benefit more from prioritizing accounts based on analytics. Communicate the benefits clearly to gain the required support.
- Managing expectations and defining goals. Make sure to incorporate well-defined milestones and to provide a timeline on deliverables. Be as detailed as possible when it comes to deliverables, and write down the minimum outcome required to make this a profitable investment decision for your company. This will avoid unnecessary discussions with your management and possible suppliers afterwards, which can impact support in the long run.
- Ownership. When companies consider an analytical project, ownership of the technology, data or intelligence can be a confusing driver of decisions and can easily overshadow the initial objective of the project. For example, the goal of a project may be generating business value, but focus is lost because of strategic insourcing ambitions. Carefully consider what the final goal of your roadmap is.
- Individual versus company interests. Domain owners have a big say in analytical projects. It is not necessarily a problem if their interests match the company’s business needs. This, however, is not always the case. Business Intelligence departments can have a big influence on the analytical roadmap and projects initiated by online or e-commerce departments, even if the project is a success and generates value. Perfecting the roadmap itself is not always as important as reaching the final goal.
- Technology versus business value. When choosing which technology to work with, decisions should be made with the goal of creating business value. A certain technology may have an extensive set of features, but does not deliver the expected business value in practice. Unexpected set-up costs, required data connections and consulting fees can discourage use and undermine successful implementation. Choose the technology that gets you the desired results. This does not always have to be the technology with the most extensive set of features available.
Keep these five points in mind when creating an analytical roadmap for a project. Do your research, set clear goals that generate business value and communicate these well. A good roadmap will help you in the process of data collection, analysis and interpretation, and can lead to a competitive advantage for your company.