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Which division of a brand should own “data analytics”?

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(TECH NEWS) Some say data analytics should be under the CMO’s control, others say the CFO, and so forth. So where does it fit today?

We are entering a new data-driven age

As this new data revolution sweeps across corporate America, one of the most important questions businesses must start answering is who owns the organization’s data.

With the predictive power that comes from data analysis, an essential part of corporate strategy for companies is to become adept at anticipating where analytics is best placed.

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Why not in the finance division?

There are a few main ways an organization can structure their analytics to suit their needs. Typically, the first way is to place data analytics with the finance arm of the business.

Particularly for companies who are numbers- and finance-driven, it can make a lot of sense for the finance or CFO to oversee analytics. Companies such as Guthy-Renker, a leading direct response firm, place data analytics in the hands of finance because they are focused on numbers.

Maybe the IT department?

Information technology is another area of the organization that can successfully own the company’s data analytics. Capital One’s CIO, Rob Alexander, notes how the company leverages big data technologies to analyze customer spending patterns and demographic data to inform their building of mobile apps and other offers to members.

Placing data analytics directly in the hands of IT can be helpful to firms still trying to determine how to store, access, and even accurately analyze all of its data. This ensures all technology-related decisions are left in the realm of their tech department.

Marketing, sales, and customer service are generally the best at customer stewardship. For companies that are truly customer-focused, these areas of organizations are essential for reading data and distilling insights. In 2015, for example, T-Mobile reduced customer attrition rates by 50% by focusing on the key analytic of customer acquisition. Discovery of what repels, attracts, and retains customers can be crucial to fulfilling enterprise goals.

How about a good ol’ matrix?

Alternatively, other businesses adopt a matrix approach that focuses on allowing the data to determine the strategy around an organization.

In a matrix, each impacted department has some degree of analytics focusing on intent and action, with the chief strategy officer overseeing the larger picture. This scenario best suits firms that take an R&D approach to data analytics. In this way, they may not precisely know what they are going to get from the data, where it comes from, or where it’s going, but they are committed to letting the data speak for itself.

The takeaway

It is up to a business to determine how committed they are to data analytics, what resources they have to dedicate to it, and where it is best placed in their organization.

However large or small, at this point all companies should start learning how best to use data analysis in their decision-making.

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