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The 4 Factors that Separate “Good” from “Great”

Technology   |   Paul Warburg   |   Oct 19, 2022

Originally appeared on Alteryx Community.

Do you love your job? For most Alteryx Community members, the answer is a resounding “Yes!!” Getting to work with data to answer your business’s most important questions is no doubt an exciting occupation.

But … could your “good” job become “great?” Could your “great” job become “amazing??” Let’s explore.

What’s slowing you down?

As a data professional, you likely navigate many challenges throughout your day. For example, perhaps you have to wrangle dozens of different data sources and outputs. Did you know that, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the average analytical process involves 6 inputs and 7 outputs? That’s a lot to data sources and data destinations keep track of.

Actual footage of a data analyst at work.

Plus, the IDC finds analysts typically use anywhere from 4 to 7 different tools to get their analytic work done. How many different tools and technologies do you use every day??

In some cases, it’s not just the data or technology that might prove challenging to manage—but also people. For some analytics projects, you may have had to petition repeatedly for help from hard-to-reach (and slow-to-respond!) experts.

All this trouble to get from data to insight can be exhausting, with IDC reporting that data professionals worldwide spend a full 44% of their workday on unsuccessful data activities. In fact, a brand-new IDC report shows a whopping 93% of organizations are not fully using the analytics skills of their employees.

So, if you’re tired at the end of your workday, know you’re not alone!

Making positive change

You may be asking yourself: “how you can I solve these kinds of issues?” Naturally, you’ll find a million-and-one ideas in the pages of this very Community, from the Academy to the Discussion Forums!

However, some issues can’t be fully solved with a clever workflow. The truth is company policies and organizational design may be the root cause of some of your woes. After all, data silos, insufficient privileges, and lack of necessary support for analytic work are often the result of business-level decisions.

Organizational concerns may sound like a murky area for an analyst to explore. After all, you’re a champion of measurable, quantitative data! Happily, these process and situational issues can be broken down into clear, measurable dimensions. So, they don’t have to remain a mysterious, subjective area any longer.

Let’s see what we can discover here.

Enter the “Analytics Maturity Model”

The International Institute of Analytics (IIA) has been studying the analytics practices of organizations across the globe for more than a decade. As a result of benchmarking hundreds of businesses, the IIA has created a model that measures how well (or poorly) organizations leverage analytics to drive insights and make decisions. They call it (unsurprisingly) the “Analytics Maturity Model.” It measures businesses along 4 different dimensions:

  • Data Maturity: Data is the raw ingredient, the foundational element for your analytics strategy. Do the right teams have the right access to the right quality of data?
  • Organizational Dynamics: Effective organizations have a clear analytics strategy. How is success defined? What resources, processes and structures have been set up to execute the strategy?
  • Analytic Team Dynamics: For analytics success, analytic teams must find the balance between control and freedom. Has analytics leadership identified and prioritized data-driven business opportunities? How well have they orchestrated their teams into action?
  • Usage and Technology: The set of tools, techniques, architectures, methods, and practices in use. How well do they connect analytics professionals to the rest of the organization? How well do they help the business realize its analytics strategy?

What Analytics Maturity does for you

Knowing your organization’s levels of Analytics Maturity across these 4 dimensions may sound abstract but having a clear scorecard of how things are going today lays the foundation for future improvements. In particular, knowing your company’s current maturity scores as described above helps identify where your company is doing the right things, and where they should work to improve their analytics processes.

It’s not that kind of assessment, we promise!

The good news is that this isn’t like taking a test, where your company “passes” or “fails.” It’s about measuring your organization’s progress over time. And every business has room to grow—according to the IIA, the average organization today has an analytics maturity score of just 2.2 out of 5.

How does your business measure up?

Now you know what an analytics maturity assessment can reveal about your business. Are you ready to find out how your company measures up? Good news: the IIA’s analytics maturity assessment is available free for you today.

More good news: it takes less than 15 minutes to complete. And it’s just multiple-choice questions—no essays required! You can complete a maturity assessment yourself, or you can wow your leadership by sharing it with them as well. Or do both!

With the Analytics Maturity Assessment, you can create the ultimate win-win scenario. You can help improve your company, and your company can help you—perhaps by taking down data silos, streamlining onerous processes, getting you the tools and technologies to meet your needs—the sky’s the limit.

Take a look at potential systemic challenges that could be making your job needlessly difficult. If you do, you help steer your organization down a path that takes your work life from “good” to “great,” and even to “amazing.”