While there are many considerations when outlining an analytics strategy, one of the most critical components centers around the People. You Leadership Team is pivotal as they must continually provide top-down support to reinforce the importance of your analytics strategy as it aligns to the organization’s overarching strategy. Equally important are the Subject Matter Experts from departments throughout your organization, as they have the working knowledge of the data as well as an understanding of their team’s overall goals and objectives. And certainly not to be forgotten are the people responsible for actually executing the data strategy.

You may be thinking that it seems difficult, or even impossible, to effectively manage this many people from this many different parts of the organization. However, by bringing people together in this way you will have created a highly efficient and effective team known as an Analytics Center of Excellence.

What is a Center of Excellence?
There are many definitions of a Center of Excellence, or CoE. For example, Gartner defines a CoE as “a physical or virtual center of knowledge concentrating existing expertise and resources in a discipline or capability to attain and sustain world-class performance and value.”

Another, perhaps simpler, definition is provided by Forbes: “The CoE is a specialized team that develops and provides leadership, best practices, research, support and training for a focus area.”

When should I create a Center of Excellence?
Organizations may choose to create CoEs for many focus areas, including marketing, member experience, or employee experience. An Analytics Center of Excellence is especially valuable as it allows you to capture perspectives and knowledge from many different areas within a team dedicated to creating and sustaining your data strategy. Combining these perspectives with the skills and capabilities of your technical team members will create an efficient and effective path forward.

Additionally, exposing individual team members to perspectives from other areas of the organization will lead to improved adoption and application of your analytics solution. For example, allowing the Marketing SME to observe and participate in ideas from your Lending SME will likely help your Marketing SME start to dream up ideas of their own.

All CoE team members are working towards the same goal, and fostering collaboration at this level will lead to exponential progress as you move along your analytics journey.

How do I create a Center of Excellence?
While you have flexibility when creating your own Analytics Center of Excellence, there are some key considerations to help in this effort.

    • Team Members – There are many questions to think through when establishing your team. After all, people are the most important part of your CoE and overall analytics strategy! Some things to think about include:
        • Which business units should be represented? There is plenty of room for everyone in your CoE! Think about how each area of the organization uses Analytics. Likely, most areas should be represented.
        • Who is the right person from each business unit? Look for people who are knowledgeable about their area of business but who also have a vision for innovation and progress. Also think about gathering team members from various levels of the organization. Your front-line staff, such as tellers and Contact Center agents, may have better insights than your leadership. If in doubt, consult the managers of each department to identify the best person for the role.
        • Who is leading the CoE and who is a contributor? While you want to have broad perspectives in your CoE, it is important to have a champion or owner of the team. Ideally, this person will have a good mix of both technical aptitude and business acumen. This should also be someone who is able to command a team and keep the momentum moving.
    • Meeting Cadence – Scheduling regular meetings is essential to keeping the Analytics CoE top of mind. Since participating on this team is an additional responsibility for most team members, it is the CoE owner’s job to keep the meetings front and center. The owner should maintain the schedule, prepare an agenda, and keep track of action items.
    • Goals – One of the first things the team should do is define the goals of the CoE. While defining goals, the team should also define evaluation criteria, timelines, and success metrics. Remember that goals will evolve over time so the owner should lead the team in assessing and refining goals throughout the life of the CoE.
    • Resources – It is helpful to create a shared space for CoE members to access templates, tools, calendars, project updates, reports, and other relevant resources. Bringing everyone to the same space and encouraging all team members to use the same resources helps create and sustain buy-in.

Remember you are not alone on your analytics journey! At Lodestar Technologies, our team members have decades of relevant expertise and experience in driving successful analytics strategies. Contact us to discuss how we can support your organization!