A Q&A about getting started and remembering to share your data
Introduction: If you haven’t noticed, it seems like every CEO is having to answer a lot of questions about how and when they are going to dive head first into revolutionizing their firms with data analytics efforts. CU*Answers’ Asterisk Intelligence project is getting a lot of attention these days from our allies, competitors, and commentators. From time to time I get asked some questions that might be worth sharing with you all. Here are a couple from last week.
Q1: What is the minimum amount of data any CU needs to get moving? Is there a magic number for how much data is needed to effectively deliver insight and drive decision-making?
My short answer: the volume of data needed is a variable most valuable to those selling data, not those using it. Right now we need businesses focused on using data as an art form.
The amount of data is not the right question credit unions should be asking themselves at first. It is the intent that organization has towards data that separates those who succeed and those who struggle. I believe that this is one of the reasons that most CUs are so far behind the curve in relation to other industries:
- They lean towards efficiency over effectiveness
- Focus is on ROI, black-and-white ledger totals versus ROL (return on learning) as the foundation for what to do next
- They are slow to trust shifts in norms, and resistant to shades of grey and variations in their accepted rules of thumb
After adopting new intent towards data, the organization must consider their ability to process or refine data and the yield from the work in doing so. Will they act on insight? What is the proper investment for the amount of effort they will put in to refine it and then to act on it? There is gold in them there hills, if you go up there to look. An organization must look at its leaders and see what motivates them to act, and what kind of processes lead to the strongest response. Some teams lead from an income statement or balance sheet and need very little else; some teams lead from their response to board members and very little else; and some teams lead from their response to experts/regulators and little else. How will that change if you decide to drive decisions from data? If you cannot say it will, save the money.
“Randy, you didn’t answer the question.” Well, the amount of data you need depends on the areas of analysis and the different variables they entail. What constitutes a trend? What is the proper age of data? What correlation to your audience specifics do you need? What are you trying to do with the insight – sell something, invest in something, win an argument, predict something, etc.
Remember most CUs just want to record something for compliance’s sake or gain confirmation and earn affirmation. Actually using insight to up their game is farther down the hill. For the average CU today, I wish they would simply excite their owners with trust and access, let their members feel like the data positions themselves as insiders trusted, and stakeholders empowered.
Q2: CU*Answers has set its sights on offering both shared data analytics services and infrastructure and solutions for the “do it yourself” turn key CU teams. Do you think a product like Analytics Booth will be valuable to both market spaces? Even if my CU started with OnApproach as our foundation?
Without a doubt, because the designers of both shared data analytics and business intelligence teams have the same problems in delivering long term value. First, build the infrastructure and factories that set the foundation for the analysts to do their work and generate value, and second, build a team of analysts and actors to turn insight into realized value and gain. In the end, the insight and intelligence has to move outward as a distributed function to be successful and products like Analytics Booth do just that!
There definitely is a role for Analytics Booth in CUs that go forward with their own solutions. Internal teams are about centralized process management, infrastructure, and controlled project sets in general. They do not often have goals for audience management, distributed processes, engagement, and self-service-self-starter interactions. The systems they build are subsets walled of in networks, and they have long lists of things to do before they go external to the net, planning rooms, and the offices and homes of external stakeholders. In essence, they are not built to exchange insight and data like currency in the beginning. That is Analytics Booth’s primary focus – build trust, leverage insight, reach out to stakeholders and let them contribute. Data is an asset best leveraged for insight and best positioned when many have the chance to look at it.
Note: Internal teams have a lot to do – and invest. It can be overwhelming and demoralizing if they cannot gain traction quick enough with a distributed audience to gain support for continued investment. AB is only one answer to this problem for internal developers. The ASAP (Ask See Act Profit) concept that says data insight must be ACTED on with muscle memory and default to action is another issue Asterisk Intelligence is working on to support the internal development dilemma. Check it out!