Gartner estimates that 90 percent of business decisions are based on a fraction of the available relevant data. How can this be true when we know that insights gained from this data could have a significant impact on an organizations’ ability to create successful business strategies and operational outcomes? Could it be that these organizations are overwhelmed by other business initiatives or that they have no idea how and where to get started?

Before diving into the deep end, executives need to establish a business-driven agenda for analytics that enables executive ownership, aligns to enterprise strategy and business goals, and defines any new business capabilities needed to deliver new sources of revenue and efficiencies. They need to create a funding process that prioritizes projects that align with those goals.

This funding process consists of 3 stages – Sponsorship, Source of value and Funding – we offer executives the following recommendations for each:


  • Establish the strategic intent of data and analytics investments
  • Use measureable business outcomes to make the transition from executive strategy to line-of-business actions
  • Convey an enterprise-wide sense of ownership through communication and endorsement

Source of value

  • Explore growth opportunities in the still-emerging digital marketplace
  • Focus on opportunities for operational innovation
  • Determine the business capabilities needed to create value


  • Invest the time to develop value-based business cases
  • Allocate funding to help maximize growth and efficiency
  • Prioritize funding based on alignment to business outcomes


An effective analytics strategy will establish the strategic intent of data and analytics investments by creating explicit connections between the enterprise’s strategic goals and the analytic activities it outlines.

Organizations whose line-of-business executives are personally involved in the development and management of an analytics strategy are the most effective. This involvement includes understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s digital infrastructure – hardware, software, data and talent – and then taking proactive steps to ensure the organization is capable of using data as a strategic asset.

Equally important are executive messages that outline – with certainty – how success will be defined. Use measurable business outcomes to transition from executive strategy to line-of-business actions. With a clear strategic vision from above, each descending level of management should ask, “How can we impact that set of business outcomes?” and, “What data do we need to do it?” Effective governance at every level means understanding how independent strategies can work together to achieve that common goal.

In addition to setting the analytics strategy, successful sponsors convey an enterprise-wide sense of ownership through communication and endorsement of analytic undertakings. Working together to achieve a common objective is a key strategy in creating value from analytics.

Source of value

Organizations are recognizing the value of analytics to identify new sources of revenue and efficiencies. Most explore the growth opportunities that abound in the still-emerging digital marketplace of the twenty-first century. They are looking at new business models and strategies that capitalize on the changing information they have about customers, competitors and markets, and leveraging new technologies to create efficiencies throughout the organization.

Executives should also focus on opportunities for operational innovation. Transformations in personal technology – from the Internet to smartphones – have profoundly altered customer interactions and expectations. At the same time, business technology innovations have created new platforms for interaction with customers and suppliers, new means of understanding business outcomes in relevant timeframes, and innovative ways to manage the day-to-day operations of the business.

Once an organization has set its strategic path for analytics, the next step is to determine the business capabilities needed to create value. By developing a business-driven blueprint of the capabilities needed, organizations can better streamline and focus their analytic investments. Organizations should invest in business capabilities that support the immediate outcomes set forth by the strategy and that focus on solving key business challenges. Documenting the specific use of big data and analytics to solve business problems through use cases is a highly recommended practice.


The rigorous approach required for analytics funding can often be learned from the Chief Financial Officer’s staff. Rather than relying on best guess and assumed impacts, organizations need to invest the time to develop value-based business cases to optimize the likelihood that investments will pay off, preferably promptly. Funding requests that include justifiable costs and anticipated benefits are a minimum among most top performing organizations, many of which also require multiple scenarios to understand the range of business outcomes and proofs of concept to justify potential benefits.

The challenge is establishing a way to allocate funding to maximize growth and efficiency. Building on the business capabilities blueprint, organizations need to develop an implementation roadmap that encompasses all the proposed analytics-related activities seeking investments across the organization. An integrated roadmap reduces the risk of duplicative or conflicting investments in hardware and software, which not only result in inefficient initial investments but add a downstream expense of reconciling the components as needed to facilitate cross-enterprise data sharing and analysis.

An implementation roadmap can help the organization prioritize funding based on alignment to business outcomes. Due to the economic realities of most organizations, some desired outcomes won’t be funded. Organizations unable to prioritize data and infrastructure developments holistically risk the likelihood of misaligning dependencies and underutilizing scarce resources of analytics talent.

In future blogs we will dive in to analytics technology and the changes required in an organization’s culture to support this methodology. By embracing analytics to drive smarter decisions and positively influence business outcomes, your organization can be better positioned to outperform your industry and market peers.

Schedule a consultation with Flagship Solutions Group to learn more about how to get started with data analytics.

If you liked this blog, you also might like:  How to Get Started with Analytics and Cognitive Computing

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Big Data and Analytics

Businesses and governments worldwide are being challenged to make sense of data and gather valuable insights from structured and unstructured data that are emerging from a variety of sources such as videos, blogs and social networking sites. To meet growing client demands in today’s data intensive industries, IBM has established the world’s deepest and broadest portfolio of Big Data and Analytics technologies and solutions, spanning services, software, research and hardware.Flagship Solutions Group helps clients tackle these big data challenges in virtually every industry – from public safety to healthcare, retail, automotive, telecommunications, and everything in between.As evidenced by our broad big data solutions portfolio, powered by IBM, consulting services, capabilities around cloud and capabilities around traditional software deliveries, we offer the full spectrum of analytics capabilities organizations need to handle big data and extract value from it — from descriptive, predictive and prescriptive to cognitive, including predictive capabilities that allow users to model once and deploy broadly on both structured and unstructured data. Effectively harnessing unique insights from big data can drive better business outcomes, helping businesses grow, attract and retain customers, improve the intimacy enterprises have with their clients and understand more about customers – how to anticipate their needs and provide more targeted and relevant marketing and services. Learn more by exploring our many content pieces. 

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