Research

The vast majority of people building analytics and data science processes have every intention of being good and ethical. As a result, most potentially unethical and evil processes arise in situations where that wasn’t the intention. The problem is typically that proper focus and governance is not in place to keep analytics and data science processes on the side of good. On top of that, what is good and what is evil isn’t nearly as clear cut as we’d wish it to be.

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Mapping an Information Economy

By Doug Mirsky, Aug 16, 2019

Available to Research & Advisory Network Clients Only

Information Economies in Organizations

The data warehouse revolution began in 1991 when Bill Inmon published Building the Data Warehouse. Inmon observed, early in that book, that every organization has a naturally occurring information economy, and that most naturally occurring information economies were inefficient, duplicative and prone to produce suboptimal decisions.

This observation of Inmon’s has not gotten anywhere near the credit, or attention, it deserves. A decade’s worth of collective practice in advanced analytics should tell us that everything we know about real-world economies applies to our information economies. There is demand for information by people and functions in an organization, and there is a supply of (some of) that information. There is (some amount) of technical and procedural infrastructure – some kind of market — to bring demand and supply together in an organized way. That “market” infrastructure is often partial, fragile and in some cases ineffective. There are competitive alternatives (like cloud service providers and SaaS vendors), over- and under-regulation (various data governance models), excessive demand-side taxation (cost allocation strategies), failure to invest in infrastructure, and all other elements of economies.

When organizations are planning strategy-driven large-scale advanced analytics programs, they should begin their planning by characterizing their as-is information economy.

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We’ve had technical people focused on the ingestion and management of data for decades. But, only recently has data engineering become a critical, widespread role. Why is that? This post will outline a somewhat contrarian view as to why data engineering has become a critical function and how we might expect the role to evolve over time.

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Creating A Data Engineering Culture: What it is, why it’s important, and how, and how not, to build

By Jesse Anderson, Jul 31, 2019

Available to Research & Advisory Network Clients Only

Why do some analytics projects succeed while so many fail? According to Gartner analyst Nick Heudecker, as many as 85% of big data projects fail. However, the ROI from the other 15% that succeed is incredibly promising. With such a clearly high barrier to competency in executing big data strategies, there remains significant opportunity for first-mover advantage for enterprises that can crack the code to improving their outcomes.

So, what can organizations do to increase their chances of big data success? Part of the answer lies in creating a data engineering culture. This is the necessary foundation underpinning a big data analytics proficiency and enables companies to outperform the competition.

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Mastering the Art & Science of Storytelling

By Brent Dykes, Jul 26, 2019

Available to Research & Advisory Network Clients Only

Analytics experts love data. But just presenting raw data or even insights derived from data isn’t good enough. To create business value from data requires that analytics professionals develop skills at data storytelling. This entails telling persuasive stories, tailored to a specific audience, that combine data, narrative, and visuals effectively.

Why Storytelling?

Human beings love stories. In fact, author Philip Pullman has written, “After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need the most in the world.” And scriptwriting expert Robert McKee has said, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”

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Sanford Health Becomes Data-Driven

By Robert Morison, Jun 26, 2019

Available to Research & Advisory Network Clients Only

Sanford Health is a major health system with over 49,000 employees, 187,000 health plan members, and $6.1B in annual revenue. The organization has been pursuing a growth strategy for the last two decades. Milestones include: merging with a series of regional health providers, incorporating the North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System (NDPRS) members into its health plan, and most recently the 2019 merger with Good Samaritan Society, the largest not-for-profit provider of senior housing and services in the United States.

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Not long ago, the role of Data Scientist was what most companies wanted to discuss with me in terms of roles they needed to understand and add to their organizations. Then, the role of Data Engineer became a big topic of discussion. In the past year, there has been a massive increase of attention being paid to yet another role that is still new enough that its title hasn’t been standardized. This role is referred to by a range of names from Analytics Translator, to Analytics Catalyst, to Analytics Liaison, and more.

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Building a Storytelling Culture Inside Data and Analytics

By Ruth Milligan, May 22, 2019

Available to Research & Advisory Network Clients Only

Let’s start with why storytelling matters in data and analytics. Brad Lemons, the SVP of Customer Insights and Analytics at Nationwide Insurance, is known to say to his team, “If you can’t sell your insights, they are worthless. Storytelling is not an option, it is a requirement.” Likewise, Scott Berinato argues that storytelling is one of six “musts” for a strong data science organization. But it persists nonetheless as an unresolved competence gap with only a few shining examples.

Storytelling reveals data insights and analytics science. After completing the rigorous problem-solving and data analysis for a business challenge, it is the best chance of synthesizing the insight to advance key business objectives.

Storytelling is an art, not a science. Analytics professionals tend to be scientists, not artists. The innate ability to understand how people hear and listen is not usually a fluency among the scientific set of analytics practitioners. It demands use of emotion, using the senses so that people can remember and repeat what was shared. It is no less rigorous than science, however, in that a strong story requires rounds of iteration and feedback to ensure it supports the key insights.

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Analytics Fluency – How Optum Is Boosting Six Critical Competencies

By Alex Barclay, May 08, 2019

Available to Research & Advisory Network Clients Only

Optum has launched a number of initiatives to boost analytics fluency, especially among its business leaders and team members. The goal is to equip individuals in business units, operations and other key parts of Optum with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively engage, employ and capitalize on analytics. While our efforts are a work in progress, we view analytics fluency as a critical prerequisite to “competing on analytics” and key to our mission of transforming health care. The next sections provide an overview of Optum and the challenges we’re addressing in health care, while subsequent sections describe the motivation for and our experience with fluency-building initiatives to date.

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Inquiry Response: Agile For Analytics

By IIA Expert, Apr 22, 2019

Available to Research & Advisory Network Clients Only

Inquiry:

We use an Agile-like methodology for analytics projects and are always looking for ways to improve our execution and speed. Do you have any advice?

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