There is no doubt that over the last few years’ analytics has become increasingly high profile in most organizations. There is little debate that data should drive decision making and businesses have therefore been making investments in their analytics infrastructure.
Long gone are the days when the analytics department was largely ignored and undertook worthy projects with little impact on how the business ran day-to day.
However there is still a great deal of frustration from both CEOs and the analytics team that more could be done to enhance the ability of organizations to act on the implications of insights and improve the quality of decision making. This topic surfaced at a recent conference on analytics in the video games industry and I would offer the following suggestions to connect data science to business processes for maximum gain.
If one thing is certain about how best to make businesses effective in this modern, dynamic age, it is that small multi-disciplinary teams are most effective at solving problems, tackling initiatives and maintaining momentum. Not that this is new; even in the Roman age this approach was common.
When creating games, it is normal now to follow Zynga’s lead and embed an analytics specialist into the game development team. The best outcomes are delivered when the analyst is intimate with the business challenge and has the opportunity to collaborate closely with this design, producer and marketing colleagues.
Data mining is a journey, which is why the question and response has to iterate quickly to get to the real question and the right answer.
It is not surprising that this organizational structure is now widely adopted. But at the conference further cultural challenges were addressed. Sure analytics is now a boardroom conversation perhaps for the first time. For several years now, it has not been possible to lead marketing teams without being data literate. Increasingly CEOs find themselves in the same position. However the flow of information around the business can be blocked at the boardroom door.
I suggested the following reason for this and invited comments. In my experience, CEOs of video games companies ask simple questions. ‘Why is my game not making money?’ ‘How do we improve our retention rates?’ The analyst’s response is ‘Well, it’s complicated.’ And the truth is that it is.
Many analyst presentations to CEOs describe the elaborate journey to uncover the truth. Although the analyst is as fascinated by the journey as the findings, the CEO couldn’t care less. And here is where the dialog breaks down.
Data scientists will make their CEOs very happy if they tell them the five things they can do now to make things better. As George Bernard Shaw said to a correspondent, ‘Sorry for the long letter, I didn’t have time to write a short one’.
Learn pithiness and you will be invited back.
If you liked this article, you should read ‘5 free-to-play game metrics every CEO should know’.