The explosion of data in organizations has given rise to an exclusive analytics priesthood. This cult of experts holds the secrets to accessing, analyzing, and interpreting the mountains of enterprise information.
Make no mistake, it is important to develop a core analytics competency anchored by a team of highly skilled practitioners. The risk is, however, the organization will become overly dependent these gurus.
In my July 2011 post, Confessions of the Analysis Guy, I detailed the some of the innermost mysteries of these wizards and dangers of depending on them too much.
A glaring blunder in many organizations is assigning these specialists strictly to performing their specialty. The opportunity to improve the overall organizational analytics IQ is lost. Studies have shown developing analytical skills across all levels of the organization improves overall performance and productivity. Therefore, a key challenge for managers is to transform the legion of introverted analyst-priests into an energetic corps of information evangelists.
Devoting some of portion analyst time to analytics promotion and training yields multiple benefits:
- Rank and File employees are better prepared to use information more productively.
- Routine analytical tasks can more confidently delegated to trained employees thereby freeing up experts for advanced analytics and further evangelization efforts.
- Analysts leave the ivory tower for a while and better understand business realities which can lead to increased analytics creativity tempered by practicality.
While a training role might not be a good fit for some analysts, management can select those who are the most trainable. Another tactic would be to “tag team” a professional trainer with an expert analyst to make presentations.
No matter what approach is employed, sending the analytics apostles forth to convert the non-believers holds promise for improved organization performance.