Building a business case for data analytics

How to avoid hitting the hype threshold and create a solid business case for your data analytics initiative.

On the face of it, you’d think it’d be pretty easy to get buy-in for data analytics. Like 'digital transformation' was a few years ago, 'analytics' has become the hyped-up buzzword in every industry, from retail and multimedia to healthcare and banking.

And rightly so - data analytics is a golden opportunity for any business. It gives you the power to turn data into insights. Insights that can help you make big, pivotal decisions on how to run your business, where to invest next, and how to analyse what is and isn’t working. It’s like the business version of a magic eight-ball that actually works.  

But here’s the thing - big, shiny promises have a hype threshold. Once you go past that threshold, all you evoke is scepticism. Ever heard the phrase 'if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true? Well that’s exactly what your colleagues will be thinking right now if they’ve been saturated with too much analytics hype.  

All of this is why it’s critical to get a business case for data analytics right. Go over the top on the hype, and you’ll risk putting people off. Avoid the hype and go purely technical, and you’ll risk making analytics sound harder (or more boring) than it is.  

Get these four steps right, however, and you’ll nail it:

1. Identify your champions

To get buy-in from your entire business, you’ll need the right people fighting in your corner from day one. That means not just financial sponsors, but smart business drivers who’ll help ensure your initiative is closely tied to broader business goals. Spend time identifying those people and their individual priorities, so you can factor them into your business case later.

2. Prove it

To get your chosen champions on your side, you’ll need to prove that data analytics works. High-level promises won’t cut it (remember the hype threshold?) That means you’ll need to identify relevant, real-world use cases of analytics initiatives that tie in with your champions’ personal goals and business priorities.

3. Prove it again

Once you’ve identified the relevant use cases for your business, it’s time to link them to your business data so you can estimate the ROI for each one. One very big caveat here - quantifying the ROI of ‘insight’ is hard, especially if you don’t have comprehensive data to work with. For more solid figures, you’re better off reaching out to a data analytics provider who can do the calculations for you.

4. Make it sing

This is the part where you package everything up so it’s clear, concise, and most importantly, compelling. The part that actually looks like a strategy. It involves things like KPI setting, so everyone has a consistent idea of what 'success' looks like before your initiative gets off the ground. It also involves choosing a potential analytics platform. For example, if your initiative looks heavily machine-learning orientated, you might want to recommend Google Cloud Platform in your business case. After that, it’s over to your champions to get the ball rolling.

What to do now

We’d go into the four steps in full detail here if we thought you’d enjoy sitting through a blog post that long, but we’re sceptical. It’s why we created a separate guide called 'Three ways enterprises win with data analytics'. Inside it you’ll find all the ingredients you need to complete the four steps, including:

  • Advice on who your champions should be
  • Potential use cases for your business
  • ROI estimates
  • A handy checklist for putting your business case together and making it sing

Check it out now and start building a solid, powerful business case for data analytics that gets everyone at your organisation leaning forward!    

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