Whatever your business objectives, a data-driven approach can deliver a critical competitive advantage to your organisation.
A targeted and professional data and analytics strategy can lead to better-informed business decisions, reduce costs and improve service delivery.
However, it can feel like a big challenge to undergo a data-driven transformation, especially if you don’t have huge financial or human resources to dedicate to the task. Building a data and analytics centre of excellence (CoE) can help to foster the necessary culture shift and skill development needed to become a data mature organisation.
A data and analytics centre of excellence takes responsibility for executing the vision and strategy of the company. Those that work within the CoE believe in and own the mission statement and are well-versed in the roadmap and direction of your organisation. While they have this mission statement as their core belief, they are also responsible for innovation, data governance & best practices, platform choice and, ultimately, return on investment.
Here are ten benefits of a well organised data and analytics centre of excellence.
1. Gives structure to the data and analytics work stream
To unlock the business value of data, you need to create a clear structure for it to pass through your business and be accessed, read, interpreted and used by anyone that needs it.
A CoE can help establish this structure and develop a productive workflow so that the data you collect doesn’t get stuck in bottlenecks or misused somewhere in the chain. They become the main advocates for the smart use of data within an organisation and support users to leverage the analytics that they have access to.
2. Accelerates learning & development
The experts within your CoE department can help employees to adapt and improve how they work with data, share effective techniques with each other, capture practical innovations and support individual and team learning – the process is continual and ever evolving.
Data and analytics as a field is constantly changing – knowledge is broadening and new tools are becoming available regularly. Building an in-house analytics CoE is a clear sign that an employer values the skills and growth of their analytics community and is vital to supporting data literacy as the sector adapts and adjusts.
3. Maximises data assets
A centre of excellence can help identify the data assets available within your organisation, and ways to maximise their value. Understanding how these resources can be pooled together is key to driving efficiency within the business and ensuring that assets are used to deliver the best possible service to your customers, clients or partners.
However, it’s also important to ensure that assets aren’t pooled or duplicated unnecessarily by different teams or individuals – everyone needs to understand what assets are already available and how they can best be used.
4. Increases employees’ satisfaction
With the best practices and economies of scale delivered by a centre of excellence, you can make your employees’ lives easier, avoiding manually-intensive, time-sink tasks and further convincing them of the value of data and analytics – not just for the business overall, but in their day-to-day roles.
Effective use of data can empower employees to make better, faster decisions, increasing satisfaction and rewarding them with learning and development opportunities to add to their existing skillsets. Providing a highly skilled workforce with best-in-class data tooling also helps to drive motivation and increases the employee value proposition in the market.
5. Instils a multidisciplinary approach to analysis
By increasing data literacy and facilitating collaboration between different teams, a centre of excellence can break down departmental silos, preventing duplication of data and expertise. Ultimately, this drives business value and will instill a multidisciplinary approach to data use and analytics.
Analytics is all the stronger and more robust when it is created by a team of specialists, rather than an individual working on their own. Think of it as a team sport, where every player plays a different, specialist position but nonetheless contributes to the strength of the team as a whole. An IT specialist might not know much about how to optimise a supply chain, but a multidisciplinary team which includes a supply chain specialist can collaborate to build the best data driven analytics solution possible.
6. Reduction in operating costs
By conducting measuring and tracking exercises, a centre of excellence can continually identify how best to allocate resources within your organisation. This can help to reduce the number of time-sink tasks, streamline processes and aid employees in carrying out their duties. All of this, in turn, will help you to reduce operating costs by becoming more effective and efficient.
By ending inefficient practices and cutting implementation time for new skills and technologies, you can focus on getting the most out of your data to help drive revenue and employee & customer satisfaction. The CoE can help to identify demand for analytics, even when the main users may not have been aware that there was a better way of working.
7. Increases trust & consistency
An analytics centre dedicated to research, testing and learning & development will inevitably foster trust in a data-driven approach, and cascade a consistent approach to strategy and execution through all levels of the organisation. Once your employees trust in the value of using data and analytics, they will be more likely to adopt best practices on a continual basis. Creating a standard, crisp look and feel from the Centre of excellence outputs will instil confidence that the build has gone through a set of rigorous checks and stands up to high standards for the consumer.
8. Research best practices
Another great benefit of a data and analytics CoE is that it can help you research and discover best practices with regards to data adoption, use and maintenance. Better understanding human interactions with analytics helps to define best practices, which in turn can increase adoption, usability and satisfaction.
The insights gained from this research can then be disseminated through to other departments within your organisation, ensuring that data and analytics are used appropriately and consistently, standardising analytics practices throughout all levels of the business.
9. Market insight & research
We touched on this earlier in the article, but it brings its own benefits. It’s imperative for any successful business to understand and react to the market it operates in, and this is no different for data-driven organisations.
A data and analytics CoE will give your team the tools to conduct that research continually, offering up insights on both your customers and the competition, informing present and future business decisions in a way that targets performance and revenue enhancement.
10. Drives innovation
A centre of excellence within your business also provides a structure within which your employees can track performance, experiment with innovative technologies and develop new skills. This drives innovation and improvement and will filter throughout your organisation, setting incrementally higher standards.
By establishing a data & analytics CoE in your organisation, you can effectively test, implement and manage new data strategies and tools and upskill employees of every level as the data landscape evolves.
The single, overarching benefit of a centre of excellence, which each of the above characteristics help to deliver, is maximum return on investment (ROI).
This article is part of our Data-Driven SMB series. For more information, advice and resources on how to accelerate your organisation’s data and analytics maturity, click here or contact us today.
Max has a background in Business Intelligence, Analytics and Data Warehousing with over 12 years in the field. He leads the delivery of enterprise level Analytics projects with a mix of technical and consulting elements at Truecue. He has been working across a multitude of industries and strives to get business value and insight out of each project, he enjoys the challenge of solving data problems with the intention of delighting our customers.