conversation about maximising value from customer insight

In praise of imperfection, for analysts to achieve success

imperfectionAmongst their many positive qualities, analysts can often be perfectionists, unwilling to settle for imperfection.

A quest for excellence and an attention to detail can be admirable qualities. Together with a restless curiosity, such attitudes can characterise a natural analyst.

But, as all perfectionists will discover, seeking perfection in your work can more often hinder than help.

So, given all the hype on social media about technological perfection, let me offer an antidote.

In this post, I’m going to speak up in favour of imperfection. Sharing 4 examples of where accepting imperfect solutions is key to making progress. (more…)

Stakeholder Segmentation: Why you need one and video personas

Stakeholder SegmentationDo you have a stakeholder segmentation? Had you even considered the need for one?

Perhaps you think segmentations are just for customers or other parties external to your business. Does creating one for your key stakeholders sound like ‘over engineering‘?

I’ve heard that response before. Yet, in this post I’ll make the case for how a stakeholder segmentation can help. I’ll also provide an example of one option, a simple segmentation designed for this purpose.

If you’ve already read and applied the advice in our earlier post on Stakeholder Mapping, this is a good next step. You are hopefully in the position of having a prioritised list of ‘key player‘ stakeholders. Those you want to manage carefully. Your next challenge is they are not all the same. (more…)

How to create a Stakeholder Map and why you need one

Stakeholder MapDo you have a stakeholder map? Is it up-to-date and do you use it?

Those questions frequently come up when I’m working with clients. In either training or coaching, the need to ‘know your stakeholders‘ is a common one.

It’s not surprising that it matters. Today’s businesses are more complex than ever. Plus, it’s not enough for insight or analytics leaders to generate insights, they need to be able to act on them. Few, if any, of today’s leaders can do that in isolation.

Whether you need to partner with IT, Sales, Marketing or Operations, you will need to cooperate. The challenge, of course, is that other people have their own priorities, challenges & values. These may not accord with yours, or may at least make your intended action less important now.

This month, we will be focussing on a range of tips for better stakeholder management. Today, we start with how to create a stakeholder map. (more…)

The most important skills for Data Scientists in businesses

most important skillsWhich are the most important skills, needed by analysts or data scientists?

It’s an interesting question to ponder. It is tempting to fall back on technical basics, like statistical knowledge & software or coding skills. But most graduate data scientists or experienced analysts will be screened for those at recruitment.

So, if you are leading an Analytics, Data Science or Insight team, where should you invest?

My mind was prompted to consider these questions by two posts on LinkedIn. So, let me share those discussions and challenges with you. Then, as well as agreeing with the need for more UK research, I’ll share my suggestions.

Thanks for Martin Squires and Beau Walker for interesting posts to start my rumination. (more…)

Getting the most out of your Data Science team, pitfalls to avoid

your data science teamDuring our month focussed on Data Science programming languages, my thoughts have turned to getting the most out of your Data Science team.

This topic has arisen, because of what I’ve observed in a number of organisations seeking to implement Data Science.

As I’ve worked with more clients and talked to other leaders at Data Science events, it has struck me how many fall into common pitfalls. These limit the impact made by their Data Science teams and so may limit the lifespan of business willingness to invest.

Like many such business problems, the challenge is not with the technology or innovation itself, but rather how it is managed. Once again, it’s what you do with it that counts. (more…)

Curating a Big Picture, why research teams need to learn how

Big PictureResearch teams can be mistakenly viewed as simply research buyers or just project managers, for a number of reasons, including a lack of curating a big picture.

I’m sure anyone leading a research or customer insight team can relate to the problems of such misconceptions. But, what do I mean by ‘curating a big picture‘?

In many ways, this is an extension of the points I previously made on knowledge management, but with a focus on research teams.

Here, I’ve seen two elements that can be lacking.

Firstly, insufficient context and secondly, a lack of remembering and connecting what has been learned previously. In this post, I’ll briefly share some advise on both elements. (more…)

Developing that vital Domain Knowledge in your analysts

domain knowledgeHow do you develop domain knowledge in your analysts, so their data usage, interpretation & recommendations make sense?

I’ve mentioned in a previous post, about the difficulties of offshoring analytics, how vital domain knowledge can be. Yet, I find most articles or speakers focus on your need to develop new technology skills (like mastering the latest ‘en vogue‘ coding language).

Akin to the greater importance of softer skills in analysts, as outlined previously, my own experience is that domain knowledge makes a greater difference to analyst effectiveness.

So, as my contribution to redressing that imbalance, here are some thoughts on domain knowledge. Why it matters & how best to help your analysts learn about their domain. (more…)