Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” over the course of your education, career, or both? While Peter Drucker was not necessarily referring to an analytics strategy when he first spouted that particular adage, it is certainly relevant. After all, the overall goal of launching an analytics initiative is to measure results. It makes sense that you would want to start by measuring the results of your analytics initiative, right? 

 

Actually, this is often a stumbling block of many organizations that launch an analytics initiative. Much like a kid in a candy store, the temptation to jump right in and start analyzing—and acting on—the data can be overwhelming. But without taking time to plan a strategy, you’re more likely to end up with a stomach ache than a sustainable strategy. To speed up your journey, it is important to invest some time upfront exploring the following questions.   

 

What kind of reporting exists today?

In the previous section of your analytics strategy, you defined the people involved. Now, you’ll want to spend some time with those people discussing their needs for analytics. The first place to start is to understand what kind of reporting they are using today. Ask questions that will help you determine where the data is coming from, the process to pull and prepare reports, the insights gained from each report, and the intended audience.

Not only will this help you define the Current State of Analytics at your organization, it will also give you keen insight into the needs of your stakeholders. This will come in handy as you build out your vision for the Future State of Analytics as well as a tactical Roadmap to get there. 

What technologies are being used to prepare these reports?

While your overall goal is likely to implement a multi-source data warehouse, you may be surprised to find that there are many technologies already in place that are facilitating reporting throughout your organization. As you are exploring the reporting that already exists, ask questions that will help you uncover the types of technologies in place to prepare each report. The most common tool is Microsoft Excel, but you may find other solutions in place that will be helpful to know as you continue down your journey. Make note of each technology, and whether or not it will ultimately be replaced by your enterprise business intelligence platform. After all, cost savings from eliminating redundant systems could play a significant part in the return on investment from whatever analytics tool(s) you implement!

What data sources are being used? What other sources are available?

As you are meeting with stakeholders to identify reporting and technologies, you will also want to make an inventory of all of the data sources currently being used. Below are some of the most common data sources. 

 

Core Processing System Loan Origination System Digital Banking Platforms Marketing Automation
Accounting/GL Card Processor Call Center Software Branch Appointment Tool
Staffing Software Human Resources Systems Third Party Data Manually Created Files

 

Keep in mind that depending upon the software in place at your organization, you may have more than one of these types of systems. For example, many financial institutions use different Loan Origination Systems for Consumer, Mortgage, and Commercial lending. This is one type of system, but different solutions will mean three separate sources.                              

Also keep in mind that the term “data source” can be very broad. Data can come from systems, canned reports, purchased data, or even manually created files such as sales goals and budgets.

 

Your Current State is Always Changing

While spending time assessing the current state of your analytics journey is important in the beginning, it is also important to plan regular check-ins to track the progress as well as ensure all information is up-to-date. You will want to update your reporting and data source inventory each time a new system is implemented, or an existing system is upgraded or replaced. Being proactive in updating your inventory will lead to many benefits throughout the life of your analytics journey, including improved data governance, streamlined knowledge transfer, and a consistent framework for quantifying the success of your program.

 

Lodestar Technologies can help with all phases of your data strategy, including a comprehensive Current State Assessment.  Contact us to discuss how we can support your organization!