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Who Needs an Analytics Champion?

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Who Needs an Analytics Champion?

For all the progress that’s been made in the field of embedded analytics and analytic applications, it seems that many companies are still fighting the same battle: ensuring adoption in the face of studies that show that 85% of analytics projects fail. While there’s certainly any number of causes for low analytics adoption rates, the biggest one I’ve seen is that most companies haven’t set themselves up for success by designating a product-focused champion to lead the analytics project. With a product champion to ensure your analytics effort keeps moving forward, companies are far more likely to succeed.

What does an analytics champion do?

Your company is likely trying to balance a set of competing priorities and opinions every day, and it probably doesn’t feel like there’s much room to focus on a new priority. As a result, if an analytics project does get introduced, it’s usually viewed as a second-tier project that takes a backseat to all of the rest of your day-to-day priorities. But if it continues to sit on the sidelines, it risks either never being deployed or being deployed in a way that's ineffective and does not drive adoption.

That’s where the product champion comes in. He or she takes on the responsibility of ensuring that the analytic application is launched and continuously improved instead of sitting on the sidelines. The champion’s responsibilities can include any number of things—like identifying stakeholders and establishing a project timeline—but two of these responsibilities rank at the top of the list:

  • Ensure that the user’s perspective is considered
  • Push the analytics application to evolve as needed

Put user experience first

For companies, it can be tempting to overlook the role of the end user and focus solely on business outcomes, which is why the champion must ensure that the focus remains on the value and overall experience for end users in addition to the positive business outcomes the company wants to achieve. To bring us back to our earlier discussion of low adoption, an analytic application that does not consider the user’s position and needs is at risk of becoming an application that’s technically capable but not valuable enough to keep users engaged. To mitigate this risk, the product champion must be able to explain both the benefit of the analytic application for the business but also ensure that the application is beneficial for the end users who need to make business decisions.

Push the analytics application to evolve

Of course, user and business requirements change over time, so once the application is launched, the product champion must ensure that the application evolves to meet those demands. Without iteration, the application runs the risk of outliving its usefulness and driving adoption rates down as a result. Instead, the product champion must monitor, manage, and drive the application forward to ensure ongoing utility and maximum business value.

Companies who want to introduce an analytics application can make themselves much more likely to achieve success by putting that application in the hands of someone who can understand end users and push the project to improve experiences and business outcomes, who understands that analytics represents a journey and not a destination. Successfully appointing a product champion is the first step in this process.

Written by GoodData Author  | 

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