Archive for Analytics Strategy and Roadmap

Building Blocks for Creating an Analytics Strategy

An analytics strategy offers many benefits to your organization and now more than never, analytics is changing the way organizations run their day-to-day operations.

For your organization to stay relevant in the minds of your members, your team needs an analytics strategy to guide the decisions, so you can deliver an optimal customer experience. Without a proper analytics strategy, you’ll see a loss in productivity among your team members, incorrect decisions being made, and an incohesive customer experience.

With these costs in mind, it’s worthwhile for your team to invest the time and money into an analytics strategy.

Wondering how to even proceed with developing an analytics strategy? Consider breaking it up into these 4 focus areas.

1. People

 

An analytics strategy isn’t tangible without a team of people who see the value in having data analytics. When building an analytics strategy, one of the first things you need to do is assemble a team. This team is comprised of data champions in key business areas. These people also assist in creating a training plan that helps those who are not as data literate. This is also a good time to evaluate the need to staff additional people to get the analytics strategy off the ground.

Creating a data culture is not an easy task, but it’s by no means impossible. A strong emphasis needs to be placed on change management and even after your analytics strategy has been created, it’s essential to continue to empower your team to use data to guide their decisions. And for incoming hires, incorporate data literacy into their onboarding.

2. Process

 

Processes play an instrumental role in moving an analytics strategy forward even if there are bumps along the road. In some cases, organizations might not have established processes in place when it pertains to data governance. And when you’re accustomed to not having processes, this leads to poor data quality and redundancy because there’s no established way of entering in the data. Implement a repeatable process to get your team into the habit of inputting data the correct way to improve data quality in the long-run. And don’t hesitate to review and refine the process over time.

3. Technology

When creating an analytics strategy, you need to examine all the systems your data could be residing in and then determine which data is the most accurate, up-to-date, and relevant. Ideally, your data needs to reside in one central repository that’s accessible and viewable across your organization. And ensuring data accuracy is essential to maintaining the integrity of it so it’s seen as the “single source of truth.”

Having the data in a central repository isn’t enough to utilize to its full potential though. You need a tool that allows you to view it in a visual manner to effectively tell your data story. Charts and graphs present data in a way that’s easy to convey to your team. Think about it – what’s more likely to carry credibility among your team? A bar graph or a spreadsheet full of numbers? It’s easier for the mind to absorb a data visual than a page full of numbers that may or may not be relevant to your audience.

4. Data

Data is what ultimately guides your organization’s strategy because it reveals what your members want from you – be it better products or services, an alternative way to communicate with them, or even membership renewal opportunities. However, data is only as valuable as what you already have so it’s imperative that it’s accurate and consistent. If you have multiple data sources, then it’s hard to pinpoint which data is ultimately the “single source of truth” your team relies on. Let’s take a simple example of an email blast for membership renewal. What happens when half of those emails bounce back to you because the email addresses were incorrect?

Inaccurate data leads to distrust in it and a loss in productivity trying to track down the correct information. In order for your analytics strategy to come to fruition, a data cleanse needs to take place before it moves to a single repository. Consider performing a data cleanse every quarter to maintain the upkeep. Some other best practices to keep your data in good shape are to create a data dictionary and to conduct a data augmentation.

At the end of the day, analytics is all about outcomes. When you have an analytics strategy in place, you’re emboldened to make decisions faster because the data is consistent and accurate. This in turn impacts other areas of the business, the team’s productivity, and your members. A data analytics strategy creates an enhanced member experience by allowing you to deliver targeted, relevant member communications and product and service offerings aligned with member preferences. And when your messaging and offerings resonate with your members, you’ll see more conversions which helps drive revenue.

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5 Ways to Kickstart Your Association’s Business Analytics Projects

In the blink of an eye, another summer has passed along with ASAE Annual. Last month, the Association Analytics team made their way to Toronto, Canada and as always, it was filled with informative sessions, incredible speakers, and fun conversations. This year’s overarching conference theme, “What Inspires”, can be easy to answer for some. For others though, it can be challenging to explain. If you’re an association professional, then chances are your organization’s mission inspires you each day. And your members are the lifeline that keeps your association alive. However, before you can effectively reach your members, you need to examine the data (through analytics projects) to better understand their needs. Then, you can find ways to inspire them to stay engaged with your organization.
This year, Ric Camacho, Chief Technology & Digital Officer, Specialty Food Association Inc. and the team at Association Analytics had the opportunity to present a pre-conference masterclass session, “Kickstart Business Analytics Projects and Initiatives”. If you were unable to attend this year’s conference or just want a refresher, we have you covered. Here are 5 key takeaways from the Kickstart Business Analytics Projects and Initiatives Session from ASAE 2017.
1) Data Is an Asset.
Data is an integral part of your association because it’s one of the elements that makes your organization unique. The data living in your software systems can tell you a lot of about what your members needs are and how you can keep them engaged or even re-engage with them. However, if your data is not managed, then it’s not a viable asset to your organization. Data management is essential in order for you to make informed decisions that guide your association’s strategy.
Here are just a few of the ways an association can use data to better understand their members:

  • Profile optimal customer by segment
  • Determine who is “at risk” (for not renewing, not attending, not donating, etc.)
  • Identify new audiences
  • Cross Sell/Up Sell/Next Sell
  • Create new products and services
  • Measure performance

Like I said, just a handful. Data can even help you tell your association’s story (aka mission) which will resonate with prospective and current members. But how do you let data drive your mission? You can achieve that by creating an analytics strategy.
2) How to Create an Analytics Strategy and Roadmap

An analytics strategy should be rooted within the overall association strategy. However, the process of creating an analytics strategy and roadmap can seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be though. There are some key steps that your team can take to get started. Once you’ve completed this strategy and roadmap, you can present it to the leadership team and show the importance of embracing a culture of analytics. Ultimately, if everyone can adopt the data-guided mindset, then the leadership team is more likely to see the benefits of it and will also treat data as an asset.
3) A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Numbers
Wait, why does this sound familiar? Yes, we’ve all heard the old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and the same can be said for numbers. For many people, data is more likely to resonate with your team if you showcase it in a visually appealing way. Now, you might be thinking how can data be “pretty” and still be valuable. Well, guess what it’s possible to have both. There are programs, such as Power BI, that can provide dynamic reporting in an attractive and useful way so you can present your data story to executives. Ideally, if data is provided in a visual way that’s easy to decipher and process, then it will be easier to convince your team to embrace it as a way to better engage with your members.
4) Five Actionable Steps to Begin Using Data Analytics

Let’s say your team is on board with using the data to make decisions. Here’s an all too familiar example. Your association team is planning their next Annual Meeting. You want to find out what the registration numbers have been for the past few years, the retention rates at each meeting, and how many first-timers have been attending. Once you’ve determined the scope, you’ll need to collect this data from your registration reports. Next, you’ll have to clean it and extract what is relevant to you. From there, you can analyze it, and determine KPIs and goals for your upcoming Annual Meeting. Keep these 5 steps in mind as you begin using data analytics: Scope, Collect, Clean, Analyze, and Act.
5) Culture Change and the Analytical Mindset
When your team is accustomed to doing things a certain way, and a proposal to change the existing process is made, it’s likely you’ll receive push back from some people. As humans, we are naturally inclined to be distrustful of change, but it’s important to reinforce the reasoning behind doing something different. If your organization isn’t used to treating data as an asset in order to make strategic decisions, then it can be a major adjustment. That’s when it’s imperative to build a case for it and to turn to team members, such as your CIO and IT Directors at your organization. Chances are people in these specific roles understand the power of data being a single source of truth. Another way to instill a culture change at your association is by incorporating data literacy into your on-boarding process. By establishing that analytical mindset from the get-go, team members are more likely to use data to make informed decisions. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get immediate buy-in to this idea though. Sometimes it just takes persistence on your part and even showcasing the loss in ROI to demonstrate the need for data.
If you can successfully get your entire team to adopt an analytical mindset, then you’ll will be able to truly see if your organization is truly moving in the right direction of achieving their mission.

Ready to Plan?

Contact us at info@AssociationAnalytics.com or (800) 920-9739 to discuss your association’s analytics strategy and roadmap.

How Do I Create an Analytics Strategy & Roadmap for My Association?

When I think about the many reasons an association should create an Analytics Strategy and Roadmap, I am reminded of Stephen Covey’s great advice: “Begin with the end in mind”.  Business intelligence and analytics implementations deliver the most value wAnalytics Strategyhen the analytics strategy is connected to the overall strategy of the association.  After all, a strategic roadmap is a plan that defines where an organization is, where it wants to go, and how it will get it there.  However just like the famous quote from Lewis Carroll, “If you don’t know where you want to go, any road will lead you there.”

8 Primary Goals for Analytics Strategy and Roadmap

During the 18 years we have been helping associations determine how to use data to make decisions, we have identified 8 primary goals for an Analytics Strategy & Roadmap process:

  1. Align analytics objectives with the organizational strategic plan.
  2. Recognize the importance of data as a key organizational asset that requires oversight and governance to ensure quality.
  3. Assess and document the current state of Data, Technology, Processes and Culture.
  4. Quantify the direct and indirect costs of the current situation (data is not clean, accessible, understood and consistently used for decisions).
  5. Identify achievable desired outcomes and understand their value.
  6. Prioritize these outcomes according to business impact, technical complexity, and organizational considerations.
  7. Educate executives and staff about what is possible and what to expect from an analytics initiative.
  8. Establish a high level plan for implementing the analytics strategy, including scope, cost and schedule.

How do I Create an Analytics Strategy and Roadmap?

There are many steps to do this well, and here are the key ones to get you started:

  1. Review your association’s strategic plan and identify measurable objectives and outcomes which can be achieved with the optimal use of data
  2. Create an Analytics Scorecard by honestly evaluating your association’s Data, Technology, Reporting and Organizational Culture
  3. Evaluate your current Data Governance Process, including quality, accountability, semantics, integration, etc.
  4. Assess each data source using an impact/complexity matrix
  5. Identify metrics, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and business questions that can be answered with data
  6. Create a risk matrix that maps the probabilities of each risk – including the cost of not taking action with analytics
  7. Review internal staff resources and identify staff augmentation and training needs
  8. Understand the options available for data warehousing and analytics tools such as Power BI or Tableau

The Ultimate Outcomes

Our experience has shown that key outcomes an association will discover as part of their Analytics Strategy and Roadmap initiative are the clear need to establish and maintain a data governance program, implement a “single version of the truth” and embrace a culture of analytics.  These things only happen when leadership recognizes data as an asset and key data sources are combined (and consistently updated in a data warehouse) and staff are rewarded for adopting an analytical mindset.  The best way to determine if this is the case for your organization is to begin with the end in mind and undertake an Analytics Strategy and Roadmap project.