The role of centers of excellence in analytics
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Centers of Excellence (CEs) have always played a crucial role for business resilience in the field of analytics. Traditionally, their role was limited to discovering, managing, and analyzing use cases. However, this changed during the pandemic, which caused an unprecedented acceleration in the use of data and analytics and, therefore, a paradigm shift in the role of centers of excellence.
Democratizing data implies that the limitations of use of the past disappear, allowing those with the right skills and tools to use it to make more informed decisions. In line with this, centers of excellence must now be more focused on user empowerment, education and information sharing, not so much on the technology itself, to provide the degree of excellence that organizations need.
Ensuring access to data and the right tools
In their new role, CEs can help ensure that everyone within an organization has the access they need to the data they need to make better decisions in their day-to-day lives, as well as the tools they need to make the most of that data. Undoubtedly, this road to CE maturity it requires a measure and balance in data governance. The data must be accessible to all employees, but always ensuring control of the legal aspects and the general risks that open access to these data implies. This is part of what should be a comprehensive strategy to literate employees in the ability to read, analyze and communicate from data.
Centers of excellence must now be more geared towards user empowerment, education and information sharing
Rather than creating dashboards and point solutions, CEs should focus on driving an analytics ecosystem across the organization. ECs have the rresponsibility for fostering a corporate culture in which all members of the organization contribute to the analysis of the data. This is one of the biggest indicators of successful data democratization, as well as an essential step in developing a data-driven organization.
The importance of sharing information between departments
Data silos are an enemy to the sharing of information and insights across departments, and as a result, the value of data that is collected across the organization can be limited by them. Every data driven company should aspire to establish feedback dynamics that ensure that, for example, the manufacturing chain benefits from the data collected by sales and marketing, and vice versa. Or, exactly, that the R&D department can take advantage of the data collected by the accountants.
Obviously, good governance is a must to ensure sensitive data is not shared. This is another area where CEs can demonstrate the unrivaled value they bring your knowledge and experience. Taking a leadership and empowering role in the organization’s structure, the figure of the centers of excellence is essential when determining how data is collected, shared and used.
In this way, their intervention helps shape the guidelines of a governance strategy that protects the data, without preventing it from being used by those who have a commercial interest in acting on that information.
Preparing workers for the future: the new role of data scientists?
The data scientists and other analytics experts that make up a CE could spend their careers simply managing the flow of data. In the past, that might have been his full-time dedication. However, current and future data-driven organizations are moving towards a cloud environment, which can free CEs from much of their traditional functions and allow them to focus much of their efforts on establishing a culture of literacy in data between the rest of co-workers.
It may seem counterintuitive that CEs should lead the workforce upskilling revolution when, after all, they are the data experts. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is necessary to make a exhaustive reflection about why raw data is collected and shared. Most of the time, data falls into a kind of black hole because managers and even the highest-ranking executives responsible for making decisions may not be able to read, understand and work with the data at their disposal. .
These skills are inherent in roles like data scientist and data analyst, but as organizations evolve, all employees need to be data-savvy enough to make business decisions in real time based on the information presented to them. By embracing an upskilling strategy and helping employees improve their data literacy, CEs can build better teams and, as a result, stronger organizations.
In short, the traditional role of CEs as mere guardians of the company’s most important information has passed into history. The next step in their natural evolution should lead them to lead the data democratization throughout the entire organization. The potential value of data increases every day and, consequently, CEs will become exponentially more important to empower teams and improve information sharing that helps build data-driven organizations.
By Mike Potter, Qlik CTO