Implementing and Measuring Big Data/Embed Transformation

Big Data Art Museum ImageIn this blog series, James Brenza has been talking about implementing big data and analytics programs using a composite case study to illustrate the process. Each week James focuses on one of the seven steps giving specific examples to help illustrate how the tools can be used in a very practical manner. This is the last of the series that corresponds with the seven stage implementation model (shown below). More information on that robust model is available in the seven stage implementation model. More information on that robust model is available in the Innovative Leaders Workbook for Implementing Analytics Programs by Maureen Metcalf and James Brenza (scheduled for release in September 2014).

Leading Organizational Transformation

Embed into operations: As an analytic initiative produces transformational results, it’s the leader’s responsibility to ensure the changes are operationalized. If the sponsors, stakeholders, and extended team have been effectively engaged throughout the initiative, this could be a straightforward effort. By ensuring the extended team of system and process owners have received regular updates, they should be prepared to embrace the new methods. Ideally, they’ve been sufficiently involved to prototype and test the new processes. While existing systems may require revisions, small, incremental deliveries may help reduce the impact of the updates.

Celebrate success: As the new models are implemented, success should be celebrated with the entire team. It’s important for the leader to recognize and reward the entire team even if the change is relatively small.  The recognition should commend the use of enterprise data, the effort to validate and integrate the data, the work to build new models, and the energy required to operationalize them. Recognition should reference the business outcome and how it will be measured. It’s also a perfect time to identify which process steps or systems will be retired as a result of the new methods. If the leader includes that in the same message, it sends a much stronger signal about how firmly the enterprise espouses the new approach.

The measure of the outcome and process control cannot be taken lightly. It’s critical that the new methods are delivering the intended results. While analytic models are robust, it’s important to recognize they should be monitored and refined. The leader should guarantee that an ongoing process to monitor the results has been institutionalized. That process should include a feedback loop for ongoing model refinement and initiation of future initiatives.

Enable on-going visibility: The outcome measures initially identified and refined throughout the initiative should be documented in an executive dashboard and reviewed frequently. This will help reinforce the success and benefits of the initiative. The owner of the outcome should be encouraged to reference those measures in their regularly scheduled executive updates. This affirms they own the outcome as well as acknowledge the benefits of the initiative.

As the team celebrates the success of their outcome, they should also acknowledge their contribution to the process. This will reinforce the adoption of data and model-driven process improvements. When the models require maintenance, we recommend creating a list that will act as a reference for which team members should be re-engaged. It’s also important to recognize that model maintenance is a requirement and an expectation.  Regular or intermittent maintenance is a reality and should not be viewed as a deficiency of the team’s effort.

How is leading a big data/analytics initiative different than other projects? So let’s take a moment to reflect on what’s unique about data and analytic initiatives.

  • The leader should be certain the celebration of the implementation is not simply for the analytic effort. They need to ensure it is associated with the business outcome realized.
  • It should always be referenced by the measures that will be impacted by the outcome.
  • The leader needs to make sure the organization understands that the models will evolve as the journey continues.
  • Most significantly, the leader needs to tout that the victory is owned by the sponsors and stakeholders. Allowing them to share the celebration, helps the leader change the culture to be open to data and model driven transformations in the future.

Throughout this series, we’ve looked at the unique aspects of analytic initiatives and transformations. If treated like a system deployment or upgrade, the leader will encounter significant struggles to maintain engagement and attain the outcome. By putting strong emphasis on executive sponsorship, robust stakeholder management, broad team engagement, deep reviews of capabilities and skills, thorough planning that embraces flexibility, thorough communication planning, transparent progress reporting and strong execution, the leader can guide the organization to tangible results. By ensuring that results are measured through a financial or customer-centric lens, they’ll provide a lasting impact to their organization. Ultimately, the leader’s success will help the organization become more comfortable with analytic driven initiatives that will help guide the organization for decades.

Click to purchase the Innovative Leaders Workbook to Implementing Analytics Programs.

If you are interested in reading more by James, you may want to read:  Evaluating Big Data Projects – Success and Failure Using an Integral Lens, Integral Leadership Review August – November 2013. You can also listen to the NPR interview that accompanies this paper including a dialogue between James Brenza, Maureen Metcalf, and the host Doug Dangler.

We also invite you to join the LinkedIn group Innovative Leadership for Analytics Programs on LinkedIn curated by James.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

If you are interested in receiving James’ seven part blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: David J. Staley, Ph.D., The Ohio State University

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.