InterWorks Is the Blueprint: Analytics Strategy


InterWorks Is the Blueprint: Analytics Strategy

This series closely examines the Tableau Blueprint and shares the role of InterWorks in providing architected expertise and support within this framework, as well as helping people apply it to produce agility, proficiency and community in their organizations.

Tableau recently released a wonderful plan of their own called the Tableau Blueprint. We at InterWorks were very excited about this Tableau Blueprint because it echoes much of how we work with clients on their data journey. You can read more about the overall Tableau Blueprint in the first part of this series by Garrett Sauls. Below, you can see the framework laid out in the Tableau Blueprint:

The Tableau Blueprint: Analytics Strategy

In Garrett’s previous blog, we learned how InterWorks is the blueprint. Today, we’re taking the first step across the blueprint map with Analytics Strategy. Once the decision is made to do something, whether it’s climb a mountain, run a marathon, take a trip, deploy a technology system or become data-driven, the first question people usually ask is, “Okay, but HOW?” We answer that question in three parts—strategy, vision and roadmapping:

Vision: Where Are We Going?

To answer “How are we going to do this?” we first need to know where we are going. It is impossible to develop a strategy until we know the destination. Think about a road trip. You need to know where you want to go before planning how to get there. It’s the same with analytics. Where do you want to be, and where do you want your organization to go in one year or five years? If you’re not sure, that’s okay; InterWorks can help. We’ve helped clients understand what good looks like and where they need to go to get to a data-driven culture and company. Maybe you only know you want to use Tableau more. Great! That’s a starting point where we can come alongside you and your team to map out where you want to go. Below, you can see our own process—which mirrors the Tableau Blueprint—for how we equip and empower clients:

Strategy: How Will We Get There?

Think about the last road trip you took, especially before the days of GPS and being told when to turn. You likely had to plan out several things:

  • First, what is your mode of transportation?
  • Second, will we take the Interstate, or do we prefer the back roads?
  • Third, how will we plan for meals and stops?
  • Fourth, what time do we hope to arrive, and thus, what time should we leave based upon our desired arrival time?

With analytics, we must do similar exercises. We need to determine, based upon the desired vision we just discussed, how do we want to get there? Do we plan for a centralized or de-centralized model for analytics? What is the best method for data governance based upon our organization’s skills, needs and culture? What skills are we missing, and how will we address those gaps? How will we design our analytics data architecture? All of these questions—and many more—are addressed during the strategy portion of the Strategy, Vision and Roadmap (SVR) sessions InterWorks conducts with clients.

Roadmap: What Steps Should We Take Toward Our Milestones?

Once we know where we are going, and how we are going to get there, we need to put in place key steps and milestones. Think about that GPS system you use. There are step-by-step directions, including the distance to the next turn or milestone built in. This way, you know if you are on track or not. It’s easy to get started on an analytics project with lots of excitement or generate momentum toward the project’s end, but it’s even easier to get lost if you don’t have a way to measure progress along the way.

Folks call them “waypoints” in navigation; we call them milestones in projects. Your analytics roadmap will guide your organization on when to bring in new systems, people and processes and when to wait.  If you consider the road trip metaphor, it may look fun to go off the path down that winding road, but it may take you 30 minutes longer to get to your final destination. Or worse: you may get lost. Analytics journeys are no different. The good news is that we can help. We can be your guide to help get you where you want to go when you want to get there.

Are You at the Beginning of Your Journey?

Let us work with your team on a Strategy, Vision and Roadmap (SVR) session. We can meet with your technology leadership to help them understand the first steps toward building a good foundation, as well as the pitfalls to avoid. We can meet with other key stakeholders and leadership to hear their needs, pain points and desires to map out exactly what steps make the most sense for you and your team. If you’re ready for this, let’s begin the conversation.

Don’t miss part three of this series. We’ll talk about how to build executive buy-in and finding the right people for the teams in your analytics journey.

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More About the Author

Karl Riddett

Strategy Lead
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